Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it in dew, cover it in
chocolate and a miracle or two? The candyman can!
My earliest memory of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is watching it at my grandparents’ house as a child. To this day hearing any mention of it takes me straight back there, and hearing Pure Imagination is guaranteed to bring a lump to my throat! Luckily, as an adult I am a little less wary of the Oompa Loompas as I was back then, so I couldn’t resist a trip to Mayflower Theatre to watch this latest adaptation of a classic well-loved story.
The story may be famous but in case anyone needs a little recap; when Charlie Bucket finds one of the five golden tickets to the Wonka Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the other winners can’t wait to feast on the sweets of their dreams. But beyond the gates, they discover more than just remarkable edible delights. As they embark on an extraordinary journey through Willy Wonka’s marvellous mind, they soon learn that nobody leaves the same way that they arrived…
On the night Charlie Bucket was played by Harmony Raine-Riley who captivated the audience with the opening number and she kept up the same energy throughout, making us fall in love with Charlie. You couldn’t help but root for her as she created a sweet and humble character who, despite the hardships of life, kept hope alive and chose to dream big.
PICTURED ABOVE: (Left to right) Jessie-Lou Harvie, Gareth Snook and Harmony Raine-Riley
With his quirky quips and jaunty moves, Gareth Snook captured the essence of what makes the Willy Wonka character so renowned. Commanding the stage, he invited the audience in by addressing them as if part of the show, this was extremely engaging and made you feel like you to were a golden ticket winner.
Unsurprisingly Pure Imagination was a show-stopping number! They captured the magic of a song that we know and love, with the added touch of spellbinding light tricks dancing around the stage, they really brought home the powerful and emotional words of the song.
PICTURED ABOVE: Michael D’Cruze (Grandpa Joe) Kate Milner-Evans (Grandma Josephine) Julie Mullins (Grandma Georgina) Christopher Howell (Grandpa George) Photo Johan Persson
For me, Grandpa Joe captured my heart. The charismatic portrayal by Michael D’Cruze had me grinning from ear to ear as we saw him come to life with renewed vigour, testing his legs and dusting off his suit to join Charlie on an adventure – showing us what a little hope can do for a person!
The witty commentary of the slightly sinister looking Oompa Loompas had the audience chuckling along. This production took a slightly different take on the Oompa Loompas, which I am not going to reveal and spoil the surprise. They offered a great, sometimes blunt, narrative to the antics of the children, creating an entertaining ensemble each time they appeared on stage.
If you need a little escapism the theatre is the perfect place to get lost in a little imagination if only for a couple of hours. Check out the What’s On page on the Mayflower’s website www.mayflower.org.uk to see what future shows they have coming up. Or follow them on Instagram @mayflowertheatre to keep up to date with show announcements!
Words by Vicky Anscombe