Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gives Melbourne a Fantasy Escape Plan #REVIEW - Noise11.com
Paul Slade Smith as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Paul Slade Smith as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gives Melbourne a Fantasy Escape Plan #REVIEW

by Paul Cashmere on August 19, 2019

in News

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is wonderful evening out offering a total fantasy escape.

This musical is based on the 2005 Tim Burton reinterpretation of the 1964 Roald Dahl novel starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. The Burton movie was not a remake of the 1971 film ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ starring Gene Wilder instead sourcing the original book for its inspiration. Wilder was a milder Wonka than the depth of Depp’s psychopathically portrayed character.

And as this musical veers to the latter 2005 darker storyline, that in turn gives licence for some amazing effects. It is here where ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ excels. To success for the audience the larger than life fantasy has to translate to the confines the smaller stage.

Part 2 of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is where the real theatrics are unveiled. The brilliant, split-second action of the squirrel scene with Veruca Salt is all about timing while the miniaturisation of Mike Teevee is cleverly co-ordinated. However, the brilliantly choreographed Oompa Loompa leaves you laughing and bewitched at the same time.

The individual elimination of the characters Mike Teevee, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, and Augustus Gloop represent goodness over greed, vanity, gluttony and obsession. Charlie Bucket is the show’s underdog and eventual hero.

12-year old Lenny Thomas was Charlie Bucket for Melbourne’s opening night performance. In total, five child actors play rotate in the role. It is incredible that someone so young can convincingly carry a show. The Charlie Bucket character is as important as the Willy Wonka role. That is a lot of pressure for a child actor. At 12 Lenny Thomas already has an impressive resume. He was previously seen as young Peter Allen in The Production Company’s ‘The Boy From Oz’, Billy in ‘School of Rock’ and Benji in ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’.

Tony Sheldon, who plays Grandpa Joe, also has a ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ credit on his resume. As Charlie’s Grandpa he gets all the good lines. The Australian production has been colloquialised with local references to Ned Kelly and Burke & Wills giving the local audience a chance to associate culturally with this production.

Australian cast of Charlie and teh Chocolate Factory

Australian cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The accessibility of American Paul Slade Smith as Willy Wonka, who played Willy on Broadway, was great timing for the Frost Organisation. Paul is a veteran of Broadway having also starred in ‘Finding Neverland’, ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’. Having been Willy long before arriving in Australia he owns the show from his first appearance as the Candy Man through to the starring role as Willy Wonka.

Lucy Maunder is a true Australian star. Her Mrs Bucket is perfection. With her prior experience in ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’, ‘Matilda: The Musical’, ‘Grease’, ‘Heathers’ and ‘Lady In Black’ her name attached to a bill is now a drawcard. You see the name Maunder and you know it is going to be good.

This show overlaps the old with the new musically. From the original soundtrack from the lyrics of David Bowie inspiration Anthony Newley shuffled through to the new music by Marc Sharman and Scott Wittman.

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is ‘Wicked’ good. If theatre is meant to be a three hour escape then ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ delivers. This is not a show for little kids. This is a 13+ show for sure but considering if you were 13 when you saw the Gene Wilder movie you would be a kid in your 60s now.

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ works perfectly visually but its underlying message of ‘Good Beats Bad’ is a great message for people to hear.

You will not walk away disappointed.

Tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for all sessions through until December 1, 2019 are on sale now.

You’ll discover music news first following Noise11 on Twitter

Comment on the news of the day, join Noise11 on Facebook

Noise11.com

Listen to the Noise11 Music News channel now at iHeartRadio

Comments

comments

Related Posts

Don Martin of Mi-Sex photo by Mi-Sex Facebook page
Mi-Sex Bass Player Don Martin Passes Away Following Cancer Battle

Don Martin, an original member and bass player of Mi-Sex has lost his battle with cancer.

6 hours ago
Paul Kelly and Paul Grabowsky photo by Pia Johnson
Paul Kelly Gives Paul Grabowsky His First Ever Top 10 Album

Maestro Paul Grabowsky is finally a pop star. The Melbourne musician, composer and teacher is no 3 on the ARIA album chart via his collaboration with Paul Kelly ‘Please Leave Your Light On’.

7 hours ago
Mick Thomas' Roving Commission
Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission Premieres ‘I Heard Sally Singing’ Video

Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission has premiere a video for ‘I Heard Sally Singing’ from the ‘See You On The Other Side’ album, recorded during Isolation.

7 hours ago
Keith Urban, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 2014 photo by Ros O'Gorman
Keith Urban Announces Tracklisting for ‘The Speed Of Now Part 1’

Keith Urban has offered up the tracklisting for his next album ‘The Speed of Now Part 1’ due in September.

7 hours ago
Baker Boy
Baker Boy Named Artist Of The Year At NIMAs

Baker Boy has been named Artist of the Year at the 2020 National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs).

1 day ago
AMEX Music Backers Fund
American Express Pump $1 Million Into Australian Music Industry

American Express will channel $1 million in funds into the Australian Music Industry via the launch of the Music Backers Fund.

3 days ago
Midnight Oil play the Bowl on their Great Circle Tour 2017 Monday 6 November 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman
Midnight Oil Debut ‘Gadigal Land’ Their First New Music in 18 Years

Midnight Oil’s ‘Gadigal Land’ is the band’s first new music since 2002. The song features Dan Sultan, Joel Davison, Kaleena Briggs and Bunna Lawrie.

3 days ago