Entries Tagged as 'London theatre'

charlie and the chocolate factory

Last Friday night we were invited to Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, the musical.   Ever since reading the book as a child, I have been fascinated with Mr Willy Wonka and his incredible factory.  Years later, I was excited to re-live this fantastic tale with Anya and Richard.  As of this year, Anya has really gotten in to Roald Dahl books with her favourites being Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and George’s Marvellous Medicine.  We’ve read both at least twice already so Anya & I were really looking forward to the musical while Richard was less so as he can be a little cynical about musical theatre.

From the start, my companion sat gripped, eyes darting from one performer to another in anticipation of their next line or song, welling up as Charlie became the grateful recipient of the last golden ticket.  It came as a big surprise to me that those eyes belonged to Richard, who had clearly checked in his cynicism along with his coat!  But he wasn’t the only one – all three of us sat glued to our seats watching the incredible spectacle of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory unfold before us.

charlie and the chocolate factory the musical review

Visually, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, the musical is an absolute treat for the eyes.  The sets and special effects are clever and quite stunning.  Imagine seeing Violet Beauregarde balloon in to a blueberry right in front of your eyes. Or the highly strung Mike Teavee transform in to a shrunken version of himself.   But it wasn’t just the amazing special effects that got me.  It was also the performers, each of whom were outstanding. 

charlie and the chocolate factory the musical

Mr Willy Wonka had the right amount of eccentricity without being frightening for kids.  Although personally for me, he could have been a bit more sinister.  Also worth a mention is the relationship between Grandpa Joe and Charlie which was very special and true to the book.  The musical brought tears to my eyes a few times but mostly I throughly enjoyed watching a dazzling show that I think any family with kids older than about 5 years will enjoy.  

charlie and chocolate factory oompa loompas

For the entire performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anya sat forward in her seat, wide-eyed, never once taking her eyes off the stage.   As much as Richard and I found it hard to tear our eyes off the stage, we also delighted in seeing Anya’s little face changing expressions and reacting to this imaginative piece of theatre.

*We were given tickets in exchange for a review.  The review is in my own words and says what I genuinely thought about the show.  

"Alice in Wonderland theatre"

With the Summer holidays in full swing, we have been enjoying some of the amazing family events on offer in London.  So I thought I would share a few of our favourite picks over the month of August.  The first one I wanted to share is Alice in Wonderland, the Opera which is held at Holland Park.  I found out about it last year but didn’t manage to get tickets for the 2103 season.  This year I was prompt and Anya and I ended up going twice!

"alice the opera kids theatre London""kids theatre London Alice""alice the opera for kids"

Any concerns I had about a 5 year old child getting bored at the opera were completely unfounded.  The opera was fantastic.  Each and every child sat there completely captivated and even though it’s an opera, every word was clearly understandable.  It’s ideally suited to 4 years and over but there were younger kids who were never once bored.  It’s a very intimate show, where you sit extremely close to the actors so you really feel like you’re a part of it which just adds to the charm.  My favourite character was the Queen of Hearts who was absolutely outstanding but the rest of the cast were great too.  The show usually takes place in the Yucca Lawns of Holland Park, weather permitting (this is London after all!).  We ended up seeing the show once inside due to rain and once outside.  The outdoor performance is probably even better for kids as you get to follow the cast around the gardens but the indoor performance really wasn’t lacking in any way either.

"family friendly operas London"

Even though tomorrow is the last day of the show for this Summer, they will return for the 2015 Summer season but in the meantime there will be other events around the country as 2015 is the Centenary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland.  So check Alice the Opera for updates on interim performances.  Otherwise, if you’re going to be anywhere near London next Summer, definitely put it in your diary now for July 2015; it’s unmissable.    I’ve mentioned how much the kids enjoyed it but I went with my mum and Anya and all three generations loved it equally.  Family events like these are such a treat and I’m wondering how I’m going to top this one.

Disclosure: I bought tickets the first time and was invited the second time.  I was going to share this even before I knew I was going to be invited because I loved it and highly recommend it.

{all photos by ebabee}

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