I was intrigued about Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being adapted on stage when I first heard of Sam Mendes's new musical. I've read the book and have seen the two movies starting Gene Wilder and the more recent one with Johnny Depp.
|At Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London|
I've then booked a ticket to see the new musical at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on the first evening of my London trip at the end of July. I sat in the balcony - the seats aren't that comfortable and I was grateful for an aisle seat but at least I had a clear view of the stage. I wasn't happy with the number of latecomers but spoke to a friendly family from Liverpool who sat behind me during the interval.
I'll try and not give any spoilers about the musical but please expect the unexpected when you plan to go. It is very different to the interpretations and adaptations I've seen in the movies. The musical is cleverly written by David Greig; the music composed by Marc Shaiman who did the music for Hairspray and he collaborated with Scott Wittman writing the lyrics.
The colourful and stunning costumes and sets were designed by Mark Thompson and complimented with Peter Darling's choreography who did Billy Elliott and Matilda. I personally loved the Factory's Chocolate Garden and probably my favourite stage set.
What I remembered the most about the performance is the use of technology and lighting. I was positively impressed how the visuals were projected for a 50 year old story and in unison with traditional props, lighting and staging. Especially with the scenes when the golden ticket winners were announced on the television news in Charlie Bucket's House and in the Factory's Television Section involving Mike Teevee. A big thanks to Jon Driscoll (Video and Project Designer) and Paul Pyrant (Light Designer).
I was curious about how the Oompa-loompas would be portrayed on stage and when the children were eliminated from the factory's tour. Thanks to the clever idea and exceptional execution of these scenes by Jamie Harrison (Puppet and Illusion Designer). Speaking of the Oompa-loompas you won't hear the traditional songs they sang in Gene Wilder's movie after the four children fell from grace. All the songs in the musical have been especially composed from scratch by Shaiman and Wittman except for Imagination.
As well as the talented and exceptional creative team, the cast were incredible including Douglas Hodge (Willy Wonka), Nigel Planner (Grandpa Joe), Clive Carter (Mr Salt) and Jasna Ivir (Mrs Gloop). I saw Jasna as Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera at London (my first time seeing it in London) in 1997. The children were great performing as Charlie and the other four lucky golden ticket winners.
|Poster in Leicester Square, London|