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For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Michael D’Cruze who plays Grandpa Joe in this production talks about bringing this role to life. Listen below:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome
Directed by James Brining, book by David Grieg, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
Set in early 1982, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of a young child called Charlie Bucket (Jessie-Lou Harvie at this performance), who lives in a northern English town or city called Grimechester. Charlie comes from a poor family and lives in the shadow of a secretive chocolate factory belonging to Willy Wonka (Gareth Snook).
An announcement goes out that Willy Wonka is hosting a tour for just five golden ticket winners (and their plus ones). Will Charlie find a ticket? Will the other children who’ve won them be as vile and self-absorbed as they first appear? Probably.
There are a lot of characters to introduce in the first half, the child ticket winners, their parents and Charlie’s grandparents. (The adult actors double for these roles.) Plus there are lots of daft and cheeky songs to go with these introductions.
Jessie-Lou Harvie has a huge sense of wonder and amazement to bring to Charlie’s adventure and has big moments where she is on the stage by herself. Gareth Snook brings his own stamp to Willy Wonka, slightly crazy, nodding to the audience directly full of fun and ideas. Leonie Spilsbury is wonderful as Charlie’s mother and full of compassion whilst Michael D’Cruze is great as the bedridden Grandpa Joe who suddenly becomes able-bodied at the chance of an adventure.
What’s missing from this production is the borderline grotesque Roald Dahl portrayals, the style of which appear in David Walliams: Birmingham Stage Company Productions like Awful Auntie and Gangsta Granny. Roald Dahl is particularly known for creating grotesque characters and Walliams stories always paid homage to these. Nearly everyone here is… a bit nice.
Saying that I really enjoyed this production, I’ve never seen any version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory on stage and this didn’t disappoint, the fun songs, the digital backgrounds, the very creative sets took the audience to a magical world.
Whilst a family story in general, this production is aimed at those aged 7 and upwards, each half is about an hour and some younger people might struggle to remain seated throughout.
A Scrumdiddlyumptious show, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 5th November. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory.