The disappointment of this production; however, is the departure from the original story and lack of character development of the five children who win the golden tickets. The audience does not get a feel for the unpleasantness of and dislike towards Augustus, Veruca, Violet or Mike, or a warmth and empathy for Charlie.
The role of Charlie, played by Flynn Nowlan on opening night, is too upbeat for a character that is supposed to be poor and starving. Despite this Nowlan is delightful as little Charlie Bucket as he dreams of creating new delicious Wonka Chocolate bars.
Stephen Anderson as Willy Wonka shines at various moments throughout the production, especially the scene in which he dramatically mines completing an imaginary obstacle course, was inventive and entertaining.
Jaxon Graham Wilson as Augustus Gloop and Octavia Barron Martin perform an entertaining and hilarious duet as they yodel and dance their way across the stage with handfuls of sausage singing More of him to Love.
Karina Russell as Veruca Salt performs upon ballet point shoes and her dance duet with her father, played by Simon Russell is playful as she dances her way around him as a gesture of how she is able to manipulate him into getting everything she wants.
Unfortunately, the audience does not get a sense of how spoilt and manipulative she is as her constant cries of Daddy I want! are not exaggerated in this production.
Taylor Scanlan as Mike Teavee tries his best to shine and performs some tight dance sequences. However, in this adaptation of the story, it becomes more about his mother’s character, played by Johanna Allen.
Madison McKoy as Mr Beauregard and Tarisai Vushe as Violet Beauregard perform The Double Bubble Dutchess with power and pop!
The choreography by Joshua Bergasse is tight and performed with precision by the entire cast, while the costuming for the Oompa-Loompas and squirrels were a standout.
Magical moments including a paper plane that flies through the theatre and removing a miniature chocolate bar and Mike Teavee from a television set have the audience guessing how these effects were achieved.
The last scene as the glass elevator sores high above the sky and should leave the audience with goosebumps and tears that poor starving little Charlie Bucket had inherited Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – just left me cold and flat.
Whether you leave the theatre having enjoyed this production or are a little disappointed will depend on your preferred version of the movies, the lively, upbeat 1971 creation or the darker 2005 film, which this production looks and feels like.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical
Crown Theatre, Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood (Perth)
Performance: Thursday 4 November 2021
Season continues to 28 November 2021
Information and Bookings: www.crownperth.com.au
Image: Stephen Anderson as Willy Wonka (centre) with the Cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – photo by Darren Thomas
Review: Craig Dalglish