Last weekend, Husband and I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Moozles. Moozles loves Roald Dahl, and although she has not read this book yet, she was excited to see the play. She was also excited to have some time alone with her mummy and daddy. My in-laws were kind enough to travel down to London to take care of Dubz for the day. The play is recommended for ages seven and over, and I did not think that our chatty, energetic three-year old could sit still for that long.
If you want to see a family show in London’s West End, I can thoroughly recommend Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The production is absolutely fantastic. The set and costumes look amazing and really transport you off the stage. It is directed by the Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes, and it is filled with an outstanding cast. Ross Dawes as Willy Wonka was terrific. I thought the show-stealer was Logan Cripps, who played Augustus Gloop. He was just so funny and adorable. And the Oompa Loompa were done so cleverly and were choreographed so well.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is playing at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in Covent Garden. I had never been to that theatre before, and it is absolutely beautiful. It is a Grade I listed building on which is the oldest theatre site in London (since the 1660s there have been four theatres here but they kept burning down). The first theatre built on the site showcased Nell Gwynn, who has a play in her name at another London theatre. The current theatre was built in 1812. And while the outside is quite unassuming, the inside is very grand.
If you go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, be aware that it lasts for two and a half hours, including an interval. There are shows everyday from Monday to Saturday, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday. If you are thinking of going, I reckon a child of four or five would be fine to attend, as long as they were able to sit quietly. The show was not at all scary, whereas Moozles found the Jonny Depp version of the film to be quite creepy.
When I asked Moozles, who is almost eight, if she had enjoyed the show she said ‘I didn’t like…I loved it’. She is quite the fan of a fake-out. Husband and I thought that the show had been made for the stage (despite being fans of the 1971 Gene Wilder films from our childhoods). Shows can often suffer going from film to stage (we saw Mary Poppins in the West End years ago and it was disappointing). But Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a great show (and you don’t need a family to see it).