Guest Reviews: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical

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Superbreak’s Marketing & Commercial Director, Darren Neylon got his hands on tickets to see the highly anticipated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Not sure what to expect from this childhood classic, Darren reviews how he felt when the curtain finally closed…

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical Drury Lane
“The innovative set and costumes made an old-fashioned story more contemporary”


Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the latest musical to hit town and I was lucky enough to be invited by Superbreak to see it. Directed by Sam Mendes, it is now showing at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

This theatre adaption follows the traditional story quite closely so most people will know what happens. Interestingly, a real sense of humour prevails throughout the show so there are no seriously black moments to dampen the spirits. Even the progressive loss of the golden ticket winners were undertaken in comical fashion.

The show was lifted by the performance of Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka (whose credits include Theatre: La Cage Aux Folles, amongst others, and on TV: Spooks, Outnumbered & Capital City). Nigel Planer (whose credits include Theatre: Wicked, We Will Rock You, Chicago & Evita, and on TV: most famously Neil in The Young Ones) also did a reasonable job as Grandpa Joe. This brings me to the child actors who played Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee. Their performances were likeable, if not a little over-egged, but certainly in keeping with the extravagant storyline and elaborate stage setting.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical
Darren felt the portrayal of the Oompa Loompas was ‘magnificent’.

My highlights included:

– The magnificent portrayal of the Oompa-Loompa’s – I held a distinct disliking for Oompa Loompa men in previous film versions of the story, however this show portrayed them in an extremely inventive, humorous and vibrant manner which actually had me warming to them.

– The in-screen introductions by Cherry Sundae of all the golden ticket prize winners were excellent, particularly Augustus Gloop and Mrs Gloop.

-The innovative set and costumes were fascinating and made an old-fashioned story more contemporary.

In summary, I did enjoy the show and it has a lot to offer. It will certainly appeal to children and adults alike, so families will enjoy it immensely. It’s certainly worth taking a look with Superbreak as it’s a very entertaining show. I would also recommend lovers of this Roald Dahl classic to treat this as a ‘must-see’ as they won’t be disappointed.

Willy Wonka Musical
The man himself, Mr Willy Wonka


We also invited the folks at Quidco along to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , here’s what they had to say about the show…

The wonderful Theatre Royal on Drury Lane is a fantastic and very fitting location to enjoy the highly entertaining and magical Roald Dahl classic. The theatre contained a fantastic atmosphere that we enjoyed as we took our seats, looking forward to seeing this classic story bought to life by Academy Award winning Director Sam Mendez. The show started and continues at a lively pace with the traditional story being kept but given a fun stage twist.


The characters were brilliant, with my personal favourites being Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop. The characters were brought up to date and the performers filled the stage, exuding the character’s personality at every moment. The set and the technology used to bring the show to life was also incredible. The combination of high-tech projections, vivid sets and illusionary ensured the audience were captivated throughout. The show really succeeded in reproducing  the magic that was felt when first watching the film as a child. Regardless of age, the performance will have you on the edge of your seat with excitement!


One of the most rememberable parts of the fantastic production was the way the creative and imaginative way that the umpa lumpas were represented. It was one of the aspects I was most intrigued to see how it would be done, and it lived up to all expectations. The costumes, lightings, movements and synchronisation of all involved was fantastic throughout and really captured the imagination of the audience, my particular favourite was the use of the costumes that lit up with arms and legs on them, whilst the actors moved around on their knees, which  could only be seen by watching closely, showing the skill involved.


Want to read more Charlie Reviews? Check out Vikki’s Review of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory 

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