Ok, so however much you were determined not to succumb to the January Blues, chances are, you may have felt a tad bit blue this month. So, aside from ditching the ‘Dry January’ resolution and eating and drinking the dark nights away, what you need Londoners, is to get yourself down to an uplifting West End show – that’s what I say.
I saw the production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory just before Christmas and it was one of the most entertaining shows I’ve seen.
Produced by Sam Mendes, it’s the first time the Roald Dahl classic has reached the West End stage.
I was excited and intrigued to see how the Skyfall director would handle such a magical story.
Although we Brits don’t really do the ‘dress up’ thing for theatre anymore (we save that for the Opera and for people like Sarah J-P) it always feels like a special night out. So as soon as I saw the glowing Charlie sign above the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, I was oh so buzzy with excitement.
Once inside the Royal Theatre, the interiors were amazing.
An intricate domed ceiling and cornicing, grand statues and chandeliers made for an impressive setting.
Isn’t it beautiful?
We had some really great balcony seats too and with a glass of wine in hand, we were ready to roll.
The problem with writing a theatre review is you end up spoiling things for those who haven’t seen the show.
So, in consideration of you lovely readers, I won’t go into too much details. But what I will do is give you a brief overview of what I adored about this take on the Charlie classic.
1. The amazing set which was incredibly realistic and atmospheric, as well as constantly changing, moving, and most importantly, building the audience up to lots of surprises.
2. The quirky intros of each of the kids: Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee – all inside a giant TV.
3. The incredible soundtrack.
4. The sense of humour – you’ll love the song Charlie’s grandparents sing in one of the beginning scenes.
5. The laugh-a-minute special effects including when Mike Teavee shrinks inside the TV and the amazing Oompa Loompa scene. Honestly, you will be amazed.
5. The journey of emotions – from Charlie being told he won’t get a birthday present, to the moment he ‘flies’ in the air with Willy Wonka himself. For a moment, you really do feel like magic is possible.
6. The incredible part played by Charlie Bucket. I think it was Oliver Finnegan who played Charlie on the night we visited. Wow, how brilliant he was.
7. The squirrel scene. (Watch it and find out)
8. The part of Violet Beauregarde – (in the background below). She chews gum, she has attitude. And she turns into a giant blueberry that explodes. The funniest scene. Ever.
9. Willy Wonka. Of course. He played a brilliant role and totally succeeded in creating an air of mystery, magic and enchantment.
10. My Wonka Bar (which I just had to go and grab at half time once I heard the chocolate scene was coming up).
I really think Charlie raised the bar in terms of West End theatre. I recently also saw Wicked which in one word, is, well, wicked, and amazed me with its singing and music production. But Charlie was magical, entertainment, funny and quite moving. So if like me, you’re in need of a bit of a lift, I’d recommend you see this. It’s the perfect dose of escapism and will certainly make you feel less blue.
Visit the Charlie site here:
Visit their Facebook page here
Visit the Theatre Royal site here