Theatre Review: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on the West End

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While in London this summer, I went a little cuckoo over Covent Garden. Some of you might’ve seen me swoon over “Sinatra: The Man and His Music.” But that wasn’t my only night living for the West End life.

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I also had the chance to see “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” (Thanks TodayTix!). Charlie was a last-minute choice for me. I saw there were seats available and booked them with only a few hours before curtain call. This musical had been on my mind ever since I had had a coffee with an old colleague, a drummer, earlier that week. He said the music was incredible. And when a musician tells you about some music you need to hear, you listen close.

So off to “the Factory” I went. Or rather, Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, a “sumptuous 19th century theatre” in the West End.

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Walking into the theatre was much like walking into a chocolate factory, complete with concession stands with cotton candy, chocolate, and slushy drinks. I found my seat, sans snacks, and sat down to take in the glamorous theatre before the lights dimmed.

My drummer friend didn’t lie; the music was astonishing, a complex mixture of musical styles moving the show on to at a lyric clip. But, with so much of storyline to cover in this Roal Dahl remake, there were a lot of lyrics that I didn’t quite catch—my only disappointment with the show.

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I was MOST impressed with this show’s set design, a true work of innovation and creativity. It’s a real mark of talent when the set is so animated and integral to the show, that it’s as if it becomes its own character.

The costumes too boosted the dancing and choreography to something I’ve never seen before as a performing artist. The innovation the costume designers required in order to transform full-grown professional dancers into 4 feet tall creatures was commendable.

Though I loved the set, the costumes, the music–it’s all of these aspects working together that created real magic onstage. I was in another place, another world. I laughed as Veruca slid down the trash shoot to her demise. I cried as Charlie and Willie sang “Pure Imagination” (everyone was!) in an elevator that soared over my head. It was a remarkable success in suspension-of-disbelief. I was taken to the Chocolate Factory and filled with childlike wonder, fully transported to Charlie’s optimistic view of a world filled with potential.

Those familiar with the story of Charlie know that this childhood tale reminds its readers to retain a sense of wonder, imagination, and hope, no matter your age. It’s this overall theme that seeped into the audience without their knowledge, taking them on an emotional journey with Charlie they thought they were merely observing.

If you’re looking to include Charlie into your London trip, visit the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–The New Musical” official website. And don’t forget to book through TodayTix using my Discount Code, LYEXV , a free $10 for you! (and a little for me too).

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Trailer

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About Kelsey

Kelsey is a dancer, wandering this world as performing artist and writing about it. She's skilled at forgetting her umbrella, getting lost, and eating too much cheese. Wend is her platform to share her nomadic lifestyle, and all the moments of beauty, grace, and hilarity that happen along the way. Join her as she finds her place in the world while dancing whenever she can.

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