Saturday, 28 December 2013

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Theatre Royal, Dury Lane ***

The musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's story 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is a production that's full of moments of golden magic but with moments of pure annoyance. I thought that the narrative written by David Greig was brilliantly clear and concise and definitely captures the atmosphere that Dahl had envisioned for his children's book of how we we see a boy, Charlie Bucket who comes from a less than wealthy family becoming the bearer of a golden ticket and from this is his dreams finally come true. Greig's decision to adapt it from the novel compared to the movie version was clever as many musicals have been adapted from films. I found Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's music and lyrics to be of an acceptable standard of creativity and wonder as the score does hint essences of humour and emotion. However some numbers are far too cliche someone liking in particular 'Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet' and 'The Amazing Tale of Mr Willy Wonka'. It would have been more appealing if some thought had been undertakes here. The company for 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' where beautifully executed in all aspects of acting, singing and dancing.  Douglas Hodges portrayal of the fastly eccentric chocolate factory owner and inventor Willy Wonka was extraordinary as he embodies the character with such tenacity and ease that we the audience become fascinated in everything the role delivers. A lovely casting decision. The child performers were incredible and I must congratulate Jenson Steele for his comedic excellence as Augustus Gloop. I was amazed by his confidence in his small section of the show. The direction by award-winning director Sam Mendes clearly establishes his versatility in both theatre and film work but I did feel that the vast Theate Royal, Dury Lane stage could have been used to it's for potential and this saddens me as the production has taken years to finally get to this stage. Mark Thompson's set and costume design was highly satisfactory as the detail felt underdeveloped. I fought that the chocolate room was extremely lacklustre as it seems that budgetary constraints had a visible in imapct to the limitations of what could be achieved for example the chocolate river. Even though the musical is rather young it does make you question the use of the budget here. It is a production that you should see especially if you have children. 

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