BWW Review: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY reviewed by Eight-year-old, First-time Gammage Attendee.
Just into her Summer break between second and third grade, Adalyn "Addy" Cable raved about the National Tour of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY currently playing at Tempe's Gammage Auditorium. She urges people and especially families to see it and after the show she had these comments to share:
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is the first show you've seen in Gammage Auditorium. What did you think when you first saw the theatre?
I was just thinking that's a cool looking building and then you were like "That's the theatre." and I was like, "What? It's gigantic."
What's the biggest theater you were in before tonight?
Mary Poppins (Herberger Theater Center)
Cool, so where does CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY go on the list of best shows you've seen?
It's the best, definitely.
What was the best before?
Mary Poppins and Little Mermaid.
And this show was better?
What do you remember the most about CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY?
When Mike Teavee went in the TV. It was crazy when he flew around.
How many times have you seen the original movie? (1971, Gene Wilder)
A lot. Like a lot.
What about the Johnny Depp one? (2005) Have you seen that one?
The old one is way better and there's no songs.
How do you know that if you haven't seen it?
You told me.
So, like we talked about before the show, this version isn't an adaptation of the movie. The movies and the stage musical are adaptations of the same book. So, what was different between this version and the movie?
The other kids that get Golden Tickets, definitely. They were more modern, that was cool.
Like Mike Teavee on his phone all the time, that totally makes sense for his character. And Violet (Beauregarde, the excessive gum-chewer) was a singer, that was perfect.
Because her song was the "Queen of Pop" and that's hilarious. It's so perfect.
So, you liked that some things were different. Cool. What about the things that were the same? What did you like?
(sung, laughing) "I've Got a Golden Ticket!"
So, would you say that the stage version of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY works well because it moves back and forth between familiar, favorite moments and inventive, new interpretations? That having some new songs engages your imagination more than a strict copy of the movie would, while including some songs from the movie keeps your ears from creative absorption exhaustion?
Very astute. Did you like the Oompa Loompas?
That was hilarious.
That they were puppets so they could do crazy dancing. That was my favorite, definitely.
I thought Mike Teavee flying around was your favorite?
No, you said 'what I did remember the most', I didn't remember the Oompa Loompas till you said that so that's not what I remember most.
What else did you like?
The lights, how when Charlie was reading Willy Wonka's journal and the drawings were on the wall.
That was cool?
If someone were to ask you, "Besides the Golden tickets and a factory tour, what's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY about?" what would you say?
That being nice is the right thing. That it's good to be a good person because you will eventually get things to be better. And being a bad person always ends up bad.
You look like you're getting sleepy.
I'm just resting my eyes.
If someone were considering seeing the CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, what would you tell them?
I would say "See it."
Adalyn's experience seemed to be universal across the families leaving the theater and walking to their cars. And rightfully so, it's a sugar rush experience. But be warned, this version doesn't embrace and elevate the dark side of Roald Dahl like the more successful Broadway musical adaptation of his work, MATILDA, does. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is for anyone with confectionary tastes, for parents looking for an opportunity to first expose their kids to theatre, or maybe for those who once in a while crave dessert for dinner.
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY plays at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, AZ through June 23rd. Tickets at www.asugammage.com