Step into a world of pure imagination: ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical’ is a psychedelic extravaganza that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
As a fan of Roald Dahl’s books from a young age, a lover of the 1971 classic with the legendary Gene Wilder, and following Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s quite scary adaptation of the bonkers genius in 2005, I was a little reticent to embark on more chocolaty fun …
But the moment the curtain rose, I was transported back into the fantastical world of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The set design (credit to Simon Higlett) was a marvel, seamlessly transitioning from the humble Bucket household to the jaw-dropping wonderland of sweets and treats, chocolate rivers and larger-than-life candy sculptures.
Gareth Snook’s portrayal of Willy Wonka was nothing short of extraordinary. He captured the enigmatic chocolatier’s quirky, comic charm effortlessly, with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous grin, making the character his own whilst embodying more Gene Wilder than Johnny Depp (which pleased me hugely).
On opening night, Jessie-Lou Harvie, played Charlie Bucket (one of four young actor who will reprise the role). Her brilliant, belting voice added a layer of magic, as did her synergy with her grandpa, played by Michael D’Cruze, whose portrayal was delightful; his comedic timing and endearing mannerisms brought a special charm, making him a true standout in the production.
The ensemble cast were equally praiseworthy. The young actors playing the Golden Ticket winners brought their characters to life with infectious energy and endearing quirks. Augustus Gloop’s insatiable appetite, Violet Beauregarde’s sassy attitude, and Veruca Salt’s diva-esque demands were all delivered, spot-on.
As were the steampunk style Oompa Loompa’s for their precision choreography, harmonies and seamless transitions between scenes – each musical number was a showstopper!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a scrumptious delight for audiences of all ages. It’s a visually stunning, toe-tapping extravaganza that will leave you smiling.