Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Dec 2015)

Hey readers!
It's time for my updated review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Charlie has always been one of my favourite shows in the West End so when the cast changed for the show I knew I really wanted to see it again. Sadly it has taken me quite a long time to see the show again, but luckily I finally made it the other day. This is a great show for both the young or old. The costumes, set and choreography are all excellent. All the songs are great, but my personal favourites are 'It Must Be Believed to Be Seen' and 'Pure Imagination'. All the sets in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory are very well designed and the special effects are mesmerising. Cast members who stood out for me are Derek Hagen who was understudying as Willy Wonka, Barry James as Grandpa Joe, Josefina Gabrielle as Mrs. Teavee, Mark Oxtoby who was understudying as Mr. Salt, Paul J. Medford as Mr. Beauregarde, Kraig Thornber as Grandpa George, Claire Carrie as Grandma Josephine and Myra Sands as Grandma Georgina. Comparing the new cast to the old, Derek, who is actually the 2nd understudy for Willy Wonka, is by far my favourite Wonka and is better than Alex Jennings and Douglas Hodge. He played the role with such passion, he had a lovely voice, he had clear diction, he was just perfect for the role. It puzzles me that he doesn't do the role full-time as the show is just wasting his talent. If they ever transfer to Broadway they HAVE to cast Derek as Willy Wonka. Mark Oxtoby, who was understudying, was just as good as Clive Carter in the role of Mr. Salt. Sadly I didn't feel Andy Brady and Rebecca Seale, who were understudying, were as good Richard Dempsey and Kirsty Malpass in the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Bucket. They were still really good, but didn't quite have the same emotion in the roles. Craig Thornier, Claire Carrie and Myra Sands were just as good in the roles of Grandpa George, Grandma Josephine and Grandma Georgina as Billy Boyle, Roni Page and Nia Fisher, who was understudying when I went in April. Act one was never that good, but last time I visited this show act one had improved so much, but sadly it seems to have reverted back to being a little dull. Act two more than makes up for it, but act one still needs to be fixed. Personally I would start the show with a more upbeat number than 'Almost Nearly Perfect'. They need an upbeat opening number like 'Welcome to the Renaissance' from Something Rotten. I also feel the song 'If Your Mother Were Here' should be shortened as it really drags on and is too depressing for this kind of show. Act one goes on for far too long and needs to be shortened. I still love this show and will probably go again when there is another cast change.

The featured star of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is, drum roll please... DEREK HAGEN!

As I have said before, Derek is phenomenal in this role and far superior to Douglas Hodge and Alex Jennings. Hopefully one day Derek will be cast full-time and more people will see him in the role. 

Now for my final verdict on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I give Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... 

Charlie may have gone down one star, but I still can't deny it's a great show and will be enjoyed by families for years to come.

Think it should have got a higher rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Cinderella.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer


  1. I have to agree totally with what you say about Derek Hagen, he truly gets into any character that he plays, making them totally believable . I first saw him a few years ago in the lead role of Jonnhy Cash in Million Dollar Quartet and I have managed to catch him in all his roles since then but sadly not as Wonka although I have seen him in both his other cover roles of Mr Beauregard and Mr Bucket the latter of which he now plays as principle. I do hope to catch him play Wonka at some point.

    1. I only saw him as Wonka, but it really does seem that he makes every single role his own. I wonder what show he's moved on to now? ;)