Review: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
One of the most anticipated shows of the year is finally here!
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Director Sam Mendes (Skyfall) does a good job in turning the book into a musical. His creative ideas really make the show what it is and without him I doubt it would be as enjoyable as it is! Creative is a perfect word to describe the show because a lot of how the factory is shown is genius and I have never seen anything like it before! Not only that but there are some fantastic magical illusions incorporated into the show as well.
Douglas Hodge is the almighty Willy Wonka and plays the role at a very high standard. He pulls off the madness and care for Charlie while at the same time dismissing the other golden ticket winners quickly as they are each sent to their endings. Nigel Planer plays Grandpa Joe, Charlie's Grandfather. He and the three other grandparents are fun to watch as they create some comedy during the first few scenes.
Charlie Bucket, played by (when I saw it) Isaac Rouse, is the hero of the story and loved by the audience as they see his desperation for a golden ticket in the first act, and how different he is to the other children, in the second. Those are the characters who stood out to me but really, the whole cast were super!
The sets are designed by Mark Thompson and for many, are probably the highlight of the show. The show starts with the derelict village where Charlie lives and of course his tiny house. Then in the second act, you have the factory itself, mostly seen by set pieces but also video projections designed by Jon Driscoll. The thing I think people will remember most about the set is the Great Glass Elevator during the song Pure Imagination. Which brings me onto the music!
The show has a brand new score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman which you'd think would be great but it's too forgettable. Don't get me wrong, in the moment, the songs seem to fit the scene very well but afterwards, don't leave you humming or singing any of the songs. The only memorable song isPure Imagination, the only song in the show which isn't new. I feel if they had left that one out, a lot of the lovers of the film would be disappointed.
I was really looking forward to hearing the score but was unfortunately let down by the not so memorable tracks. So is it still worth seeing? Totally! The show is great in many ways and will hopefully be loved by young and old. Overall, I thought it was 'scrumptious' but 'It must be believed to be seen'.