As you may know, I’ve recently been in London and whilst on the hunt for some evening entertainment I came across the latest Roald Dahl story to be turned into a West End extravaganza, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
As the show was still in previews when we went it was fairly easy to get tickets even just a few days before the event. When going to West End musicals we always try to sit in the stalls, and managed to get tickets in row O which was just over half way back in the auditorium. For any of you long-legged lovelies out there be warned the seats in this theatre are very close together so you don’t get much leg room but for shorties like me I was perfectly fine (although I was wishing and praying that no tall folk sat in front of me and thankfully the theatre gods answered my prayers!).
So onto the show itself, written and directed by David Greig and Sam Mendes it stays true to the traditional Roald Dahl story and amongst a largely unknown cast it also stars Young Ones actor Nigel Planner as everyone’s favourite all singing, all dancing granddad, Grandpa Joe. As it was in preview there were some teething problems, mainly with some of the sound which at times meant that the orchestra were so loud it was difficult to hear or understand some of the singing. Some of the songs were also incredibly quick, which I imagine were very difficult for the cast to sing and get very good diction, but again this unfortunately made it quite tricky to get what the message of the story was in a handful of songs. Although that being sad this was definitely in the minority of songs, and the rest were pretty awesome.
Apart from that the set and scenery were to be honest nothing short of extraordinary. The world of Willy Wonka is well-known as being totally out of this world, and how Greig and Mendes managed to translate this into a stage production was amazing. My personal favourite parts of the set were the chocolate river, the robots who create Violet Beauregard’s three course dinner chewing gum and finally the giant TV set that’s used to show each of the other four children who win the Golden Tickets (trust me, if you see this production live I’m sure you’ll be amazed by it too!).
Throughout the first month of previews the cast and crew have been continually refining the show, which has now finally opened to a star-studded audience including SJP and Uma Thurman. Personally I haven’t read any of the critics reviews on the show, but as an avid theatre-goer I would whole-heartedly recommend this show to anyone who wants to be transported to a world of wonderful creations and if you have children old enough to sit through a full length show like this, then this is the show for you and them. It’s funny, energetic, inventive and undoubtedly a world of pure imagination.
Have any of you been to see this show? What did you think?
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