Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical: A Review

“There is no life I know to compare to pure imagination!”

I was lucky enough to be given a golden ticket to go and experience the wonders of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical at the Wales Millennium Centre. Having already taken the West End and Broadway world by storm, I was excited to see what this cast was going to bring to this award-winning show. 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical is a joyous spectacle of vibrant songs, lively dance numbers and a little bit of magic. 

Photo Credits: Johan Persson

Based on the iconic story by Roald Dahl, it follows the narrative of little Charlie Bucket, played by Issac Sugden, who lives with his mother and 4 bed-bound grandparents in a tiny house. Although the Bucket family struggle to make ends meet, Charlie never stops trying to make something out of nothing and remains kind at heart. When Charlie finds one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets, he is thrown into a world of sweet treats, giant squirrels and pure imagination. But as they explore more and more of Wonka’s mysterious factory, they soon realise that nobody is going to be leaving the same. 

Photo Credits: Johan Persson

This lively and talented cast brought a special take on this iconic story. Issac Sugden (Charlie Bucket) did such an incredible job of commanding the stage for someone of such a young age. He captured the audience’s hearts from his first note. Stepping into such well known roles can be daunting and it’s a risk to put your own spin on it, but Gareth Snook as the infamous, eccentric and slightly mad Willy Wonka was a marvel to watch. The high energy performance pulled the audience right in and had us laughing throughout. And I particularly enjoyed how the show leans into how dark the original story was, and the dangerous outlandishness of Wonka’s character. 

This is what made the show the perfect fit for the whole family. It tailors to both the younger members of the audience and the adults. The children were swept up in the magic of Wonka’s factory, thanks to the incredible work of the set and costumer designer, Simon Higlett. And the adults in the audience were engulfed in the nostalgia while being able to appreciate the dark humour.

Photo Credits: Johan Persson

The musical scoring of this production was brilliant. The audience loved to hear the old classics we know so well, such as ‘Pure Imagination’ and ‘The Candy Man’, along with new hits made for the stage. Some of my favourites were the songs to introduce each of the other golden ticket winners. ‘More Of Him To Love’ for the greedy Augustus Gloop, played by Robin Simões Da Silva. ‘When Veruca Says’ for the spoilt Veruca Salt, played by Emma Robotham Hunt. The Queen of Pop’ for the boastful Violet Beauregarde played by Marisha Morgan. And ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong?’ For the rude Mike Teavee, played by Teddy Hinde. Each and every one of those numbers were fun and upbeat. Robin, Emma, Marisha and Teddy were incredible to watch and despite playing unfavourable characters, they won the audience over and gave such a strong energy to the show.

And, of course, special mentions have to go to the rest of this incredible cast who made the story come to life. The beloved bucket family, who’s hilarious energy bounced off one another and had the audience in stitches, Michael D’Cruze as Grandpa Joe, Kate Milner Evans as Grandmas Josephine, Christopher Howell as Grandpa George, Emily Winter as Grandma Georgina (And Mrs Beauregarde) and Leonie Spilsbury as Mrs Bucket. And the amazing performance of the ensemble cast who brought the Oompa Loompa’s to life, giving them a steampunk-twist which I think worked surprisingly well: Lydia Bradd, Darcie Brown, Ewan Gillies, Lucy Hutchinson, Patrick King, Jodie Knight, Jonathan MacDonald, Victoria Nicol, Katherine Picar, Morgan Scott, Ty-Reece Stewart and Lewis Rae.

This show is outstanding fun for the whole family. Take a trip on this wild ride to a land of sweet treats and pure imagination!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical, will be at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 20th May before heading off to the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury to continue their UK tour. 

All photo credits to Johan Persson

For more information about the show and the Wales Millennium Centre, you can check out their website and social medias-

Wales Millennium Centre: Website, Facebook, InstagramandTwitter