Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical recently made its way to our town, so obviously we had to go. Chicken read the book at school and enjoyed it, although I wouldn’t say it was her favorite. I LOVE the movie, but the kids have never seen it. So I went in hopeful it would do my favorite story proud, without expecting to be blown away.
This is definitely an updated version. For example, Mike Teevee is hooked on video games and Violet refers to herself as the Queen of Pop and wears a velour tracksuit. But the characters all maintained their core traits, which was nice.
Overall, I think the musical is less “creepy” than the movie. Mr. Slugworth is gone and all the horrifying images from the boat scene are mercifully absent. There are a couple of added elements that could be disturbing to younger or more sensitive children. After Violet turns into a blueberry, she pops. It happens off stage, but you hear the sound and bluish goo (which looked a lot like purple yarn) shoots onto the stage and covers her father.
In another scene, before Veruca is determined to be a bad egg, she dances with squirrels. They are actors in all black squirrel costumes and have glowing green eyes. The rats then tear a mannequin of her apart and stand holding a separate body part.
Each of these instances are clearly fake and are done in a way that holds no resemblance to reality. But it is still a bit gross and the squirrels could be scary for some. Nugget had a lot of questions about what happened to poor Violet and Veruca, but he was not scared at all. In fact, for some reason I don’t understand, the rats were a favorite part for both of my weird kiddos.
Something about the Oompa Loompas was a bit cringy. Honestly, I don’t know how one could handle the Oompa Loompas in a non-cringy way in this day in age, but it still wasn’t my favorite moment.
What I did really enjoy was the use of technology on the set. Digital projection was used to create colorful, fluid, dimensional and visually stunning scenes unlike anything I have seen on stage.
Chicken and Nugget found it absolutely hilarious. Chicken was laughing out loud, and Nugget was belly laughing and cackling away. At one point I was afraid he was going to stop breathing he was laughing so hard! During a moment he found particularly amusing, he leaned over and and whispered “Dad should be here! This is really something!” I enjoyed it more than I expected, but it wasn’t my favorite show we have seen.
You can check here to find out if Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (or other national tours) will be heading your way: https://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com/