In these politically correct times I wonder if the characters of the Oompa Loompas would have made the pages of Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory if he had penned his famous children’s novel in 2013 instead of 1963?
The producers of the new show in London, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane are keeping very tight-lipped about just how the Oompa Loompas will be portrayed on the stage at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
The Oompa Loompas will of course be taking over the stage from another height disadvantaged star, namely, Lord Farquar in Shrek, who proved to be the hot of the show in London.
The producers of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical haven’t issued any information as yet and it is all very hush hush, top secret, much like Willy Wonka’s own secret recipe for his Wonka chocolate bars. But at Shows in London we have the cast list for the Oompa Loompas who will be Joe Allen, we presume not the Liverpool footballer, David Birch, Luke Fetherston, Nia Fisher, Clare Halse, Mark Iles, Kieran Jae, Mireia Mabo Bokele, Natalie Moore-Williams, Sherrie Pennington, Damien Poole and Paul Saunders.
Joe Allen, when not dictating play in the centre of Liverpool’s midfield likes to tread the boards. He has numerous previous stage theatre credits, in fact far too numerous to mention!
David Birch (left) and Luke Fetherston Oompa Loompas in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
David Birch has previously appeared as a munckin in the Wizard of Oz and also appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins, so is somewhat of a veteran in family shows.
Luke Fetherston has appeared in Singin’ in the Rain at the Palace theatre and in Top Hat. Luke is an accomplished dancer.
Nia Fisher (left) and Clare Halse Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Nia Fisher was in the London shows, Sister Act and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang both at the London Palladium.
Clare Halse will merely need to be kitted out with a new costume as she is already appearing in the show at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, as she stars in Shrek the musical. Previous theatre credits include Hairspray and Wicked at the Apollo Victoria theatre in London.
Mark Iles (left) and Kieran Jae Oompa Loompas in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
Mark Iles is another experienced theatre actor having appeared in numerous national tours and previously in the West End in Oliver! at the London Palladium.
Kieran Jae is an experienced actor and dancer of the West End theatre, he has starred in numerous London shows including Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales theatre as Eddie and Pepper, and he was also in Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward theatre.
Mireia Mambo-Bokele (left) and Natalie Moore-Williams Oompa Loompas in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
Mireia Mambo-Bokele is simply stunning and was previously in Ragtime at the Open Air theatre in Regents Park.
Natalie Moore-Williams was in Evita at the new Wimbledon theatre in London.
Sherrie Pennington a(left) and Damien Poole Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Sherrie Pennington is another experienced actress and dancer in the theatre having been in several shows, most recently in Singin’ in the Rain at the Palace theatre and before that in Legally Blonde at the Savoy theatre in London.
Damien Poole is another who won’t need to move dressing rooms, as he is currently playing the Mad Hatter in Shrek the musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, prior to that he had stints as Teen Angel, Kenickie and Roger in Grease at the Piccadilly theatre in London.
Joe Allen (left) and Paul saunders Oompa Loompas in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
Paul Saunders has most recently starred in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria theatre.
In Roald Dahl’s earlier versions of Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Oompa-Loompas were originally called “Whipple-Scrumpets”, this was changed prior to publication. In the early editions of the book, Oompa-Loompas are controversially depicted as African pygmies. Later they were described as short in stature with green hair, orange skin and white pants with protruding knees. Following growing controversy and criticism, in later editions of the Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Oompa-Loompas are white skinned and golden haired.
Oompa-Loompas come from Loompaland, an isolated area in the West Africa. The Oompa-Loompas are preyed upon by Whangdoodles, Hornswogglers and Snozzwangers, in their native region. Willy Wonka invites them to work in his factory to escape from their predators. They are the only people Willy Wonka will allow to work in his factory, because of the risk of industrial espionage committed by his chocolate making competitors.
Oompa-Loompas are small, only knee-high, with weird and amazing haircuts. They are paid in their favourite food, cocoa beans. They are mischievous and love practical jokes. As each rejected child exits the Oompa-Loompas sing moralising songs and speak in rhyme.
In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the book the Oompa-Loompas maintain their native clothing: men wear skins, women wear leaves, and children wear nothing! However, in the 1971 film they are shown wearing Germanic clothing with striped shirts and baggy lederhosen-like shorts. In the 2005 film version, the Oompa Loompas wore tribal clothing in their native Loompaland and typical factory worker uniforms once in Willy Wonka’s factory.
As yet the producers of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory haven’t revealed which costumes the Oompa Loompas will be wearing. One thing that Shows in London have concluded though is that the Oompa Loompas at the Theatre Royal Drury lane will be the best looking yet, these guys and girls are hot with a capital H, so our vote goes with the naked look.
Charlie and the Chocolate factory previews from the 18th May with the grand opening night gala scheduled for the 25th June 2013.