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CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – A Theatre Review 
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Post CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – A Theatre Review
Last November, on my trip to London, I was very excited with the fact that I got tickets to see this new musical. As a huge fan of Tim Burton’s movie I was expecting something special, what I got was a big disappointment. Anyway, I like building pages about the shows I saw so I’ve just finished one about this huge production without heart and soul. You can visit it at:
http://themusicalchronicles.blogspot.pt ... eatre.html


Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:28 pm
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Post Re: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – A Theatre Review
A few things:

Quote:
It’s obvious money wasn’t an issue when Warner Bros decided to transform CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY into a stage musical.


WB, as far as I know, was not involved in the making of this musical, in any way. They only licensed the rights to the book from Dahl's estate to make the movie. They did not own the rights to the book.

Quote:
The first act is boringly slow and made me sleepy. In it we got to know the winning children through a television show that I think is supposed to be funny, but it isn’t and the songs are uninteresting.


Is that so? How would you have written it? It's pretty damn much like the way we learn about the other kids in the movies. Except I think it has quite a few shiny bits, that were actually funny. The 2 songs (Mike/Verruca) in which the parents were the main singers were by FAR the funniest in act 1, at least as I listened to the album. (yes, I know Veronica's father sings lead on her song as well... but that song DOES NOT fit with the flow of the rest of the show. It even sounds odd to me. Hell, the father reminds me of the guy who played the Mayor in the OBC recording on Rock Of Ages...)

Quote:
Charlie’s songs are dull and there’s also a depressing ballad, “If Your Mother Were Here”, sung by his parents.


Charlie's parents (be lucky they didn't kill off his dad, like in the 71' version) had SOME characterization, mostly through that song, which they DID NOT have in either the 2005 movie, or the 71 movie , mainly because in that one the father was dead. It provided a window into the characters that Burton didn't give, mainly because he wanted Depp to have more man-child moments in flashbacks that WERE NO WAY in the book. Or the sequel. I loved that song, and honestly, I wish they would have included at least a few more scenes with them. And I agree the bits with "Candy" (which is a name for a stripper, not a TV presenter.) could use some work, but how the hell else are we gonna learn about the other kids? Magically have Charlie teleport to each location with Wonka-Vision?

Quote:
On the second act we finally go inside the chocolate factory, but even with the gigantic sets and the use and abuse of projections (leds?) things don’t become very interesting.


Wonka is the best part of the second act. And that's intentional. At least I think. The other kids are supposed to be tortured, they're a plot device to move the story along. Just as in both the book, and the movies.


Quote:
The score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman only comes alive when the orchestra plays the overture of act two and it reminded me of better scores like OLIVER, MARY POPPINS, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG and DOCTOR DOLITTLE. None of the songs are catchy. In fact, the best song of the entire score is “Pure Imagination”, that was written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley for the Gene Wilder movie. Maybe they should have used more songs from that movie. Anyway, no one can say that the score is monotonous, but it’s easily forgettable.



I'd completely disagree with that. The score is awesome. It's literally one of the best new scores to come out, in my opinion, since Book Of Mormon. What was the problem with the rest of the songs? They were forgettable? I've listened to the album 1 time, and I have been singing one or the other over and over for the past 3 days. It's not forgettable if that happens. Yes, "Pure Imagination" is the height of the score, but that's what it's meant to be, It's meant to facilitate the nostalgia that the rest of the show kind of lacks, but makes up humor. I can't say that the '71 movie had many more unforgettable songs, compared to the '05 one which had none, past the doll "performance". But I can't name any of them besides the included one, and I've seen both movies 10x each. I heavily disagree with you here. I think it's the best adaption, followed by the '71 movie, and finally, distantly last, is the '05 movie. It's faithful to the book, and updates it for a new audience, which is all we could have asked for. And its' funny with out being obscene. I mean, for god's sake, if you didn't laugh during most of the non-slow songs at least once, I wonder if you got the point, besides that it wasn't an adaption of the 2005 film. "It Must Be Believed To Be Seen" is flat out my favorite song off the album, and sounds like it could have come out of the musical film. I like it so much, I'm thinking of using it as an audition piece. (second favorite is "Simply Second Nature", a song which sounds like it could have also come out of the '71 film. They perfectly wrote songs for each characters, although I question why Verruca got a rap song. (it still kinda fits her character though)... especially Wonka. Doug might just have fit the role, and I might be ignoring something obvious, but I think I'm right in saying, that they should adapt this into a movie eventually, with only one change. Take out the worst song in the show "A Little Me", and just end on the reprise of "Must Be Believed", after "Pure Imagination". I do hope they drop that before Broadway, as it serves NO purpose. I do think, overall, we just disagree on one of the, IMO, best shows to come out of the West End in years.


Quote:
Douglas Hodge was fabulous in GUYS AND DOLLS and LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, but in the role of Willy Wonka he didn’t convince me. His character should be bigger than life and he plays it like he’s running a circus; I felt that he isn’t having any fun or pleasure doing it.



I've never seen or listened to him in either of them, but he's my second best, maybe even my first (I'd need to hear Gene sing this through first.). Take any of his songs. You can tell he's trying to imitate Gene, but has put his own spin on it. And I think it's MILES better then Depp's version. As for the "running a circus" allegation, I completely disagree. I could say the same about Depp. And, from all the bootlegs I've seen, and the album I've heard, he's having a grand damn old time of it. A ton better then Depp, who sounded bored and tired, never mind overly sarcastic, during the movie.


Quote:
As the four horrible children, Regan Stokes, Ellie Simmons, India Ria Amarteifio and Luca Toomey were convincingly unlikable.



They're supossed to be. If they were LIKEABLE, they they wouldn't be tortured, and they would be the leads instead of Charlie. Which is not what the story is about. If they weren't little C(hildren)OB, then Charlie would be THAT much more unstandable.


Quote:
Not very far from the theatre where this dull musical is playing we can see MATILDA, also based on a Roald Dahl book, and this one is simply a work of genius. Both shows are made with children as their main target, but while MATILDA appeals to all ages, this CHARLIE is a childish tedious show that can put children and grownups sleeping.



You and I clearly have different opinions, and I'm going to leave it there.


Reply if you wish.

Comped


Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:14 pm
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Post Re: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – A Theatre Review
comped wrote:
A few things:

Quote:
It’s obvious money wasn’t an issue when Warner Bros decided to transform CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY into a stage musical.


WB, as far as I know, was not involved in the making of this musical, in any way. They only licensed the rights to the book from Dahl's estate to make the movie. They did not own the rights to the book.


Warner Brothers are a 'partner' of the production, so I would assume that yes, they have helped finance it. However, nowhere does it claim that this stage version is 'based on' the Tim Burton film. They simply use the same source material, upon which the Gene Wilder film was also based.

I felt that the first act was a bit slow, and things definitely lifted once Willy Wonka was on stage. I thought that Douglas Hodge was marvellous, and although I can't say I came out humming the score (a stupid measure of a score's success, in my opinion though - how about whether you felt that the story was successfully told through the music?) I felt that the narrative was very ably supported by the songs - unlike the very blah music of The Light Princess, which I saw the following weekend.


Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:40 am
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Post Re: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – A Theatre Review
Dear Comped, I'm glad to know that you're passionate about this show. I wish I was too, but unfortunately I didn't like it.

For what I understood, correct me if I'm wrong, you haven't seen the show yet, only bootleg versions of it. I really hope that one day you'll be able to see it live on stage and that you won't be disappointed.

As someone has already said, Warner Bros is one of the producers of the show through their Theatre Ventures (you can check it at the show website or reading the programme). But that fact isn't important.

It's the fact that everyone have different tastes that makes this world so interesting. And by the way, thanks for visiting my blog.


Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:25 pm
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