My 7 year old daughter and I went to see this brilliant show in London’s West End over the summer, during a rather wonderful thing which you might not have heard of (as I certainly hadn’t, until I came across it quite randomly on a mumsnet forum), known as “Kidsweek” (link below). Basically from what I understand it started out as a week in the summer holidays, but due to its popularity it has evolved to actually take place, every year, over the whole of August. So yes, it is a misnomer (I just had to use that word!) Anyway, back to Kidsweek. It is a whole month, during which kids can get tickets to see shows for free, as long as they are accompanied by an adult who is paying for a full adult ticket. Since tickets for kids generally cost exactly the same as tickets for adults, this can be a massive saving. Especially for a show like Charlie, where tickets cost about £75 each (ours did, anyway.) You do have to be quick off the mark to get tickets for the more popular shows, but even if you miss the day tickets are released, there are usually tickets still available for some great shows. Everything from Lion King to Phantom of the Opera (though I wouldn’t take my kids to that, just yet!)
We had a lovely trip to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it was great to have a grown up girls day out as that’s a little rare these days, since we’re often so busy just keeping my toddler and preschool sons alive 😉 We picked up a couple of our friend’s children along the way, and got the number 87 bus from Clapham Junction all the way to Aldwych (which is quite fun as you get to see lots of London sights including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – try to sit upstairs at the front of the bus if you happen to do this journey!) The theatre is not far at all from the last stop on the bus, and since we had some spare time before the start of the show, we wandered down to Covent Garden where we watched some street performers. This is always a bit of a laugh, and quite a novel experience for my daughter since we don’t make it into central London as often as we would like!
The show itself was brilliant. I was half expecting not to like it, as I adore the original movie and the score is tough to beat, but the new songs and the performances were genuinely incredible. We were wowed by the children’s abilities to sing, dance and act. Willy Wonka himself gave a strong performance and got quite a few laughs. The show is quite long, and does have quiet parts, and I commented to my friend that I was glad we hadn’t brought my 3 and a half year old, as he would not have been able to manage sitting still through the whole show, never mind staying silent! I think if you ‘re thinking of going, age 5 and up would be my recommendation. And if the child knows the story already, that’s a bonus of course!
The songs were all brand new but good. They did play one familiar song, “There is no place I know, that compares with your imagination…” which I was really pleased to hear. It is the best one, in my opinion!
The oompa-loompas were amazing!
Go and see it, you won’t regret it.
Next August I am hoping to get tickets for Matilda the musical.
If you’re interested in kidsweek, check out their website (link below) and sign up so you’re ready to pounce on the day they release the tickets (usually a few months before August).
If you prefer not to wait, you can book now via the link below to theatre tickets direct. This is an affiliate link which means I would get paid a very small amount if you make a purchase via the link.