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Charlie and The Chocolate Factory - The Musical

 

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical is transporting families to the world of Roald Dahl with a brand new take on his much loved classic which has already been a hit in the West End and on Broadway as it starts it's first UK tour at Milton Keynes Theatre.

There's some favourite songs from the iconic Gene Wilder movie with ‘The Candy Man’ and ‘Pure Imagination’ mixed in with some brand new numbers by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (who composed and wrote the lyrics for Mary Poppins Returns) plus some enchanting magic tricks and special effects.

In true Roald Dahl style, there are moments of dark comedy as the story of young golden ticket winner Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectionary wizard Willy Wonka unfolds.

The producers have realised that parts of the original story have arguably not aged well so this is a re-telling which works for 2023 - Augustus Gloop is punished for taking without asking rather than being 'fat shamed', but it's kept Roald Dahl's edginess as the slightly creepy Wonka dispenses with each unworthy winning child one by one.

Sign language is seamlessly incorporated into the show in a way that feels very natural, which was a nice touch and makes the show more inclusive.

The chocolate factory is brilliantly realised with a combination of projections and very clever set design as you're taken through the gates down the sugarry corridors to rivers of chocolate and rooms of Wonka's inventions.

This is very much a family show - you could hear the children in the audience whispering to their parents "Is that real??", and the 10 year old we took said he really enjoyed it and his favourite part was the chocolate river boat ride.

There are some great performances from Gareth Snook as a very funny but slightly unsettling 'Willy Wonka' and a confident Noah Walton who played 'Charlie Bucket' on press night - he is part of a rota of four young actors playing the role with Amelia Minto, Kayleen Nguema and Isaac Sugden.

Completing the cast are Kazmin Borrer as ‘Veruca Salt’, Teddy Hinde as ‘Mike Teavee’, Marisha Morgan as ‘Violet Beauregarde’ and Robin Simoes da Silva as ‘Augustus Gloop’ plus Michael D’Cruze as ‘Grandpa Joe’, Christopher Howell as ‘Grandpa George’, Kate Milner Evans as ‘Grandma Josephine’, Julie Mullins as ‘Grandma Georgina’ and Leonie Spilsbury as ‘Mrs Bucket’.

This is a fantastic show for the whole family which brings one of the best children's novels ever bang up to date and a great way to spend the evening in a world of "pure imagination"

Christopher Howell (Mr Salt) Kazmin Borrer (Veruca Salt) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - The Musical. Photo Johan Persson

 

 

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