On Friday night I had the great privilege of being invited to the red carpet opening night of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. We were encouraged to dress in our red carpet best with a touch of pure imagination for the big night – you’ll see my touch of pure imagination at the end….
While waiting for the show to get started there were many fun photo spots to get your picture taken, and this really helped to get into the magic of all things Wonka before the show even begun.
Following the story line of the original Roahl Dahl classic children’s book (which was changed a little for the original movie and then again for the Tim Burton update) we meet all the characters you know and love. Charlie, the Bucket family, Mr Willy Wonka himself, and of course all those bratty (yet hilarious) kids!
For opening night Charlie was played by Lenny Thomas, a 12 year old boy from Bon Beach!! He did a stellar job, and for such a youngster already has a heaps of musical experience under his belt. The role of Charlie will be shared between 4 children, and no doubt they’ll all bring something special to the role.
All of the cast really got into character. Grandpa Joe (Tony Sheldon) just lit up the stage and definitely provided some great humour for the adults watching. The on stage chemistry between Tony and Lenny was beautiful and a joy to watch; it appeared so natural.
Willy Wonka is played by New York broadway star Paul Slade Smith, who was charming, lovable, quirky and everything you would want him to be.
So the characters were familiar, the story was familiar, what about the songs? There were a few classics from the original film thrown in “I’ve got a Golden Ticket”, and some of the duds culled (So long “Cheer up Charlie”). In addition there were a HEAP of new songs throughout both acts. Each child character had their own song, plus the Oompa Loompas busted out the moves too.
I won’t wreck it for you, but the Oompa Loompas are very cleverly done, and I think probably the best bit of the show. Don’t spoil it for yourself, don’t google. Get tickets and see for yourself.
So is it ok for kids? YES, absolutely!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a child’s book, film and now a musical. It is flashy, colourful and vibrant, enough to keep your children well entertained.
However, one big difference that you should be aware of is that the kids; Augustus, Veruca, Violet and Mike…. well some of them don’t make it…. eeeep! Just let that sink in. Some of them will….. die. There, I said it!
Unlike the book or the films where the kids are somewhat “healed” and sent home again that actually doesn’t happen in the musical…. some are in fact ruined beyond repair.
Now it isn’t graphic, it is comical, but perhaps some little sensitive souls might be a bit taken aback.
Although the characters aren’t healed nor return for the story, they do come out at the end to take a bow as their formed unharmed selves… so hopefully that will appease any sensitive kiddos. Feel free to message me if you want more info (spoilers) on this stuff.
I would say this show would be enjoyed by children 4+ and absolutely would recommend you book it in and take them along. Fill them with candy and have a fantastic time! Book your golden tickets here.
Overall Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was truly CHOC-TACULAR!