Rating: ★★★★★

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of young Charlie Bucket, who wins a golden ticket to tour Willy Wonka’s mysterious and magical chocolate factory, along with four other children. The visit unveils a world of wonder and life lessons.

Currently on its UK tour – this spectacular adaptation brilliantly captures Roald Dahl’s enchanting world.

The show is a visual feast, with audio-visuals that are nothing short of spectacular. The quality of the graphics and the clever interactions between the cast and set are joyous and creative. The set design is ingenious, perfectly encapsulating the outrageous and seemingly impossible world of the chocolate factory, combining the very best of modern and traditional theatre staging.

Fans of the original will be delighted to find key songs and references, adding a familiar and nostalgic touch. The introduction of the Oompa Loompas is a standout moment, met by an excitable rumble from the audience. Their dance routines and contribution to the comedy elements of the story are brilliantly executed, adding to the overall charm of the production.

The first act is superb, setting a high bar that is somehow surpassed in the second act. As the children and their parents enter the chocolate factory, Dahl’s gorgeous writing is brought to life with punchy, captivating performances. The narrative arc, from the family scene with Charlie’s mother and grandparents to the triumphant discovery of the golden ticket, is beautifully rendered, showcasing the story’s heartwarming core.

The performance featured Harmony Raine Riley as Charlie Bucket, Gareth Snook as the eccentric Willy Wonka, and Michael D’Cruze portraying a lovable Grandpa Joe, each delivering performances that were as magical as the show itself, with raptuous applause and a rightful standing ovation at the end.

Many cast play multiple roles but one notable example of such is Leonie Spilsbury as Mrs Bucket & Mrs Teavee. Contrasting, quality characters with alot to do – seamlessly communicating alot of her words in sign language. An example of the quality and depth of the cast.

This production does a remarkable job of retaining the humbleness and heart of Dahl’s classic tale, which continues to captivate audiences 60 years after its publication. Both children and adults alike will find themselves hooked by this brilliant adaptation. The show’s ability to connect with audiences of all ages is a testament to its timeless appeal and the skill of its performers and production team.

“Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” is set to play at the Liverpool Empire until November 26th before moving to Dublin for Christmas and Glasgow in the spring. This is a must-see production for fans of the classic tale and anyone who appreciates the joy of theatre. It’s a magical journey that revives the childlike wonder in us all, a delightful escape into a world where the fantastical becomes real, and dreams can, indeed, come true.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory plays the Liverpool Empire until Saturday 26th November 2023 and you can buy tickets here… 

Photography by Johan Persson ©