Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical


Roald Dahl’s sugary-sweet tale bursts into life at the King’s in Glasgow this week, transporting audiences to a world of pure imagination in a dazzling production full of heart.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a story ripe for adaptation – with two motion pictures and a dollop of spin-offs still satiating appetites at the box office. 

David Greig’s book keeps the heart of Dahl’s story, following impoverished Charlie Bucket’s journey to secure a Golden Ticket for the adventure of a lifetime in reclusive genius Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Fellow winners of the highly sought-after tickets are a deeply unlikeable bunch of spoiled children, each one less deserving to take up this incredible opportunity than the last.

Of course, Dahl’s wicked solution is to have each one ‘dealt with’ as the factory tour progresses in increasingly twisted and gruesome ways. 

Translating the scale of Dahl’s extraordinary world to the stage is no mean feat but this production brings together state-of-the-art projection, lighting and a little bit of magic to bring Wonka’s world to life. 

From rivers made of chocolate to squirrels going nuts, the visual impact of this show is perfect for wee ones and adults alike. Stepping into Wonka’s world leaves the worries of the day outside 

This adaptation brings the story bang up to date for today’s world, where screens, social media and the balance of your bank account dictate kid’s lives.

Bound by the constraints of its touring production, the iconic – and jaw-dropping – glass elevator of the show’s London and Broadway residencies is scaled down considerably for the road.

Most disappointing is that the Oompa Loompa’s in this tour have been given no scope to excite or entertain. It appears, similar to last week’s touring production of Shrek, the team have opted not to use costume to bring these pint-sized wonders to life.

This production instead adopts stiff, metallic robots – a real juxtaposition to an otherwise visually impressive show. This lazy workaround dashes the otherwise magical effort undertaken.

Scotland’s own Jessie-Lou Harvey steals the show in the titular role, with a heavenly voice and a cheeky spring in her step. Her adorable Charlie bursts onto the King’s stage in a blast of energy, making her the perfect fit to play this savvy child wonder.

As eccentric confectioner Willy Wonka, Gareth Snook brings manic magic to the stage from the moment he enters. This motormouthed maverick has the audience in the palm of his hand with a devilment that echoes Tim Curry in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Supported by a superb cast, stunning sets and a sugary score, this moreish musical has something for all the family. It’s a calorific feast for the senses that will leave you wanting more.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the golden ticket that you don’t want to miss!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical at King’s Theatre, Glasgow until Sunday 4th February 2024, then touring