Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:20 AM
I saw this last night and there's a lot to like about it. I thought the book was well written, and the casting and sets are great.The first half being mainly in black and white with only the tv segments as colour and then the second act being bright and colourful I really liked. And the Oompa Loompa's work really well. They really do steal the show. Douglas Hodge is great as Wonka and has created a character that's much more like Gene Wilder's than Johnny Depp's and that worked for me. His singing and dancing is great to boot. I saw Jack Costello last night and he really carried the show well. Nigel Planer as Grandpa Joe does a good job, but I didn't believe for a minute he was 90+!
I was a bit disappointed by the music, I love Hairspray, Bombshell and Catch Me if You Can, but nothing in this score comes close to any of those. It seems a real mish-mash of styles with nothing really connecting them at all. The songs to introduce the child ticket winners are pretty terrible, the one for Augustus is the only one I felt worked. The awful rap and whatever that was for Mike were terrible. And where was the song when Charlie found the ticket? I was expecting a huge celebration with lots of dancing, like in the movie, but it never really happened. If Your Mother Were Here and It Must Be Believed To Be Seen were the only songs that really stood out, but I couldn't hum either to you. I came out of the theatre with Pure Imagination in my head wishing they'd incorporated more of the movie songs.
I think the first act needs some extra work and something needs to be done with the ending. Having Wonka come back on as some kind of Fagin for a few seconds doesn't work at all. It needs a big production number filled with colour and Oompa Loompa's for the feel good factor. Charlie's first day in charge or something :-) I am looking forward to going to see it again in a few months and see what changes they made. The show is in pretty good shape, but could be made really wonderful with a few tweaks here and there.