Review by Charlotte Vaughan

What the Critics said:

“A sweet night out” – -Timeout-

“A sugar-high of enchantment” – -The Stage

A night out at the theatre is such a special treat for families and when we were given the opportunity to visit London and see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this summer we all jumped with joy!  Enchanting and award winning musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrates its third anniversary this year. With two Olivier awards and a lot of broken records at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, it’s already been seen by over 1.4million people so far.

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Photo by Matt Crockett

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened in 2013 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane near Covent Garden in London. The Theatre is situated in the heart of the Covent Garden closely located to all the restaurants and shops, perfect for making a special day out with the family.  Tickets are available from www.theatretickets.uk for a family of four.

We visited the theatre on a very hot and sunny afternoon and were so impressed with the beautiful theatre that was very spacious inside, we treated ourselves to pre-theatre drinks in the bar overlooking Covent Garden.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is another of Roald Dahl’s stories to be adapted for the stage, following the hugely successful Matilda the Musical. Hailed as a ‘glossy, riotously colourful production’ by the Evening Standard, and winner of two Olivier Awards, you might fully expect to be plunged into the crazy world of Willy Wonka, but nothing will prepare you for the spectacle that followed.

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Photo by Matt Crockett

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is directed by the talented Sam Mendes (Skyfall, King Lear), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has to be one of the most imaginative, creative productions to grace the West End, and will leave you and the kids utterly spellbound from start to finish.

The audience is delighted and transported through Charlie’s world of imagination into a feast of colours, astounding sets, captivating (and funny) performances and memorable songs. Set and Costume Designer Mark Thompson has truly outdone himself, creating the world that every child imagines when they first read Roald Dahl’s book. The sheer complexity of these huge set pieces is astounding; they move about seamlessly on the stage with entirely new scenery for almost every scene. Lighting Design by Paul Pyant complements it beautifully, bringing to life the colour and craziness of Willy Wonka’s world.

Photo by Matt Crockett
Photo by Matt Crockett

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of our favourite books at the moment, reading it with our 7 year old and follows the story of Charlie Bucket, a young boy who wins a golden ticket to see the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory. Charlie and the four other winners go beyond the gates in the hope of winning a lifetime supply of chocolate, but they soon discover that Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory are not as sweet as they seem.

The story was brilliantly adapted for the stage, pure brilliance from all the actors that play little Charlie Bucket, all the children in the show are fantastic performers and Jonathan Slinger as Willy Wonka is particularly brilliant, dressed in a traditional purple tailcoat and bottle-green trousers just as Roald Dahl describes in the original book.

This is one of the rare shows in the West End where the whole cast is incredibly strong, and every single person is clearly having a great time performing, we did feel that the lyrics and the music weren’t as strong as other West End Shows and definitely not as strong as Matilda but the whole family were definitely memorised throughout the show.

This was helped with such great lighting and stage effects and fantastic choreography by Peter Darling (Billy Elliot, Matilda) that keeps the show looking very fresh and young.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is definitely one of the most entertaining shows currently in the West End. Every aspect of the production ties together to create something that is beyond our wildest imaginations. This is a fun, uplifting and stunning treat, with surprises round every corner. It really must be believed to be seen.

Photo by Matt Crockett
Photo by Matt Crockett

Who Should See it?

For all kids aged 8 to 80. Whilst children will be mesmerised, you don’t need to have a family to enjoy this fantastic show.

Where to Book

Book your tickets for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical at www.theatretickets.uk