Broadway’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in Boise was fun for the whole family. – The Referee

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On the opening night of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at the Morrison Center, the center was packed with older couples, young adults and families. It was a stark contrast to last month’s “Hamilton” where there wasn’t as much diversity between the ages of the contestants.

The broad age range of the audience testifies to the reputation of the children’s novel on which the musical is based, as well as the film from which the musical draws the music. Although I’m surprised how a story featuring so much dark comedy has become so popular.

Until I saw it on the Broadway list in Boise, I had no idea “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was even a musical. I am very happy to have seen it. If I had the opportunity to go back, I would. However, I would love to take children with me, as I feel some of the magic of the show has been lost to me as an adult.

There were some of the classic songs from the Gene Wilder movie, including “Pure Imagination” and “Candyman.” There were many other memorable scenes and songs that I liked. Each Golden Ticket child had their own unique and fun song and dance number.

Veruca Salt’s disappearance at the hands of life-size squirrels was a particularly absurd and hilarious moment. The Oompa-Loompas were incredibly intelligent and the costumes were wonderfully bright and colorful.

My only criticism would be that in the scenes featuring Willy Wonka’s factory, a screen often goes up and down which broke the immersion for me at times.

The most memorable scene for me, however, is where the screen pops up and there’s a completely blank stage. During this scene, the performers mime the events taking place on the stage.

Pantomime is when events, objects or emotions are shown through movements and gestures rather than with a physical presence. I think this is a vastly underutilized aspect of acting and acting (especially in professional level shows)!

Overall though, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is a fun musical, and I think it would be more fun if the whole family could come.

[Photo of the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” musical cast]
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Daniels
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