Friday, July 19

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Alexandra, Birmingham

This loved family favourite bursts from the stage in a riot of colour and energy.

BMOS are a well-established and respected amateur company. The fact that they have been chosen as one of only 11 companies nationwide to lead Les Misérables next year, should give you a clue to the quality of their performances and productions.

This is the tale of poor Charlie Bucket, who dreams of chocolate. Will he ever get to see inside Wonka’s factory? If he does, what will he find there?

Young Charlie (Theo Traat at this performance) seems rarely to leave the stage. His eternal hope and belief in his dream, and his kindness shine through and create a heartwarming performance. Robbie Love as Wonka is a many faceted character, cunning and a touch sinister but also full of wonder and childlike enthusiasm, no more so than during “Pure Imagination” beautifully song by Wonka and the families. Grandpa Joe (Nick Owenford) shone from his bed and continued to do so in the second act. The other Golden Ticket winners (Augustus Gloop – Chris Fowler, Veruca Salt – Ellen Tozer, Volet Beauregard -Rachel Richards and Mike Teavee – Scott McHurley) were all wonderfully brought to life. Be it by concealing sausages, dancing like a prima ballerina and screaming across the stage, chewing gum and taking selfies or being screen obsessed, they were all characters that you love to dislike. One of the most moving songs of the night was beautifully performed by Annabel Pilcher, Mrs Bucket.  The song pulled at your heartstrings while the notes rang like a bell through the theatre.

Accompanying the principals was a large and enthusiastic ensemble. They were towns people (in America and Bavaria, Peanut shellers, reporters, and many many other roles. Their time to really shine came in the factory as Oompa Loompas. Without giving anything away, their appearance was an absolute joy and made you smile every time they appear. The choreography for the ensemble was varied in style to match the setting, but always wonderful to watch and polished to perfection.

The scenery was a mix of projection and physical set. This worked well with coordinating elements and details on both parts. Using projection for the factory created that extra sense of wonder which would be difficult to capture otherwise.

All of the ingredients of this production come together to create a confection as delicious as a Wonka Bar. BMOS have created a stunning family friendly show, suitable for everyone. Do whatever you need to get your hands on a ticket, just like Charlie.

Reviewer: Annette Nuttall

Reviewed: 12th June 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.