When I went: 28 September 2013
Location: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Performers: Douglas Hodge (Willy Wonka), Jack Costello (Charlie)
Creative team: David Greig (book), Mark Shaiman (music), Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman (lyrics), Roald Dahl (novel), Sam Mendes (director)
Approximate price: £67
Special points: Roald Dahl book, effects
Best bit: Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet
If I could change one thing: More killer songs
Like Matilda, this musical is based on one of Roald Dahl’s best-loved books, but unfortunately, unlike Matilda, it does not reach the same heights in terms of quality of songs or lyrical brilliance. However, it has plenty of charm and heart, and is a good one for the whole family.
Douglas Hodge made a likeable if not amazing Willy Wonka, and Jack Costello as Charlie was impressive, both vocally and as an actor. The standout song was Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet, a dark romp with a plethora of evil-looking squirrels. The audience seemed to be enjoying themselves but the atmosphere wasn’t as spellbinding as it could have been, and it was hard for even a musically-inclined Owl like me to remember many of the songs afterwards, with the exception of Pure Imagination.