Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Age recommendation 6+. 

The ultimate candyman is re-imagined for the stage

2013 marked the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s enduring classic book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being published. Roald Dahl’s magical dark tale of Charlie Bucket, a famed chocolate factory and the mysterious eccentric confectioner Willy Wonka comes to life on the stage in a brand new London musical directed by Academy Award winner and director of the latest Bond movie, Sam Mendes.

Buy your Charlie and the Chocolate Factory London tickets with us and get the best seats at the best prices. Below some insights into the show, the history, basic plot and some background for your information before you buy tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1963 children’s book by Roald Dahl which has already been made into two successful hit movies: the first in 1971 as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder, and a second adaptation directed by Tim Burton in 2005 starring Johnnie Depp.

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical London stars Alex Jennings as Willy Wonka, alongside Barry James as Grandpa Joe. The show is bursting with Dahl’s signature style and imagination, with chocolate waterfalls, the strange-looking but wise Oompa Loompas and their mystical and cheeky songs, glass elevators, trained squirrels and ever-lasting gobstoppers.

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Story

The surreal but deliciously wonderful show also has an underlying moral, based around sins and vices, so it is aimed at whole family audiences.

Sam Mendes, who directs the show, is said to have been enthralled by the story whilst reading it to his children and eagerly put himself forward for the project. The whole creative team are real lovers of the book and have vowed to stay true to the original plot and characters, which will include all the delightfully nasty children and their extraordinary comeuppances.

The fantastical tale follows a young and impoverished Charlie Bucket, who lives with his mother and both sets of grandparents in a small dilapidated house, supposedly it was Dal’s own writing den that provided inspiration for the Bucket’s house.

Charlie’s Grandpa Joe (Barry James) tells him stories about the famous chocolate factory in their hometown and about its wierd and wonderful owner, as well as the intriguing mystery surrounding the secret recipes for chocolate and candy.

Willy Wonka announces that he has hidden a Golden Ticket in five chocolate bars, which are being distributed to locations worldwide, and that the lucky finders of a Golden Ticket would be granted a trip to Willy Wonka’s factory and a lifetime supply of confectionary.

Charlie is enthralled and longs for chocolate to satisfy his hunger and to find a Golden Ticket for himself but he doesn’t have the money to afford the bars.

Four tickets are claimed. Augustus Gloop, an obese, gluttonous boy, has one; Veruca Salt, a terrible spoilt brat, a second; self-obsessed record-breaking gum chewer Violet Beauregarde a third; and Mike Teavee, who is unhealthily obsessed with guns and television, particularly Westerns and Gangster films, gets the fourth.

Charlie dreams of finding a ticket himself; proving dreams do come true he discovers a golden ticket in the only bar he can afford to buy.

The children excitedly venture on their trip to the mysterious Chocolate Factory under the supervision of the strange Mr Willy Wonka. The Chocolate Factory has elaborate, often gigantic, machines shrouded in secrecy, and which produce magical results.

The children are initially taken to the Chocolate Room, where Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate and is sucked up by a pipe, the first of the children to be unceremoniously dumped from the tour.

Next in the Inventing Room, Violet Beauregarde chews on a piece of experimental gum designed to taste of whatever you imagine. Violet expands into a giant blueberry and is deposied down to the juicing room.

In the Nut Room, Veruca Salt, seeing the trained squirrels separating the nuts, demands to have one. She is refused, but attempts to take one anyway whereupon she is attacked by the squirrels and thrown down the waste disposal chute, apparently to the furnace beneath.

The remaining children go on the Great Glass Elevator to the Television Room, where Mike manages to accidentally shrink himself to a few inches tall using a teleporter which Wonka had invented.

Charlie, being the last child left, wins the ultimate prize. But unless you’ve read the book you will have to wait to see the show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical to find out what Charlie’s prize is.

There are a few twists and surprises along the way, and as you can imagine not everything is as it first appears.

As a fan of the book since childhood, film director Tim Burton states: “I responded to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it respected the fact that children can be adults.”

In a 2006 list for the Royal Society of Literature, J. K. Rowling author of the Harry Potter fantasy series named Charlie and the Chocolate Factory among her top ten books every child should read.

The show in London features some ingenious staging, and is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman (Grammy award-winners for the musical Hairspray and Smash). The stage adaptation for the musical in London has been created by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig (The Bacchae, Tintin In Tibet), set and costume designs are by Mark Thompson (Mamma Mia!; One Man, Two Guvnors) and choreography is by Peter Darling (Billy Elliot The Musical; and another Roald Dahl adaptation Matilda The Musical).

Alongside Alex Jennings as Willy Wonka and Barry James as Grandpa Joe, the following roles have been cast: Clive Carter as Mr Salt, Jasna Ivir as Mrs Gloop, Paul J Medford as Mr Beauregarde, Josefina Gabrielle as Mrs Teavee and Myra Sands as Grandma Georgina.

Buy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tickets in London

To get further information on the Theatre Royal Drury Lane where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is showing, please click here.

If you need help on navigating the busy, and often confusing, streets of London, then we have written up a guide with various methods on how to get to the the Theatre Royal Drury Lane – click here.

If you’re visiting London for a mini-break or even going to the Theatre for a nice evening out, then why not take a look at the meal deals that can be bought with tickets at a discounted rate.

If you’re a big fanatic of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or anything related to Roald Dahl, take a look at our Facts, Figures & Trivia page.

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The Venue

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Catherine Street, London, United Kingdom, WC2B 5JF

Nearest Tube

Covent Garden

Nearest Train

Charing Cross

Running Time

2h30min including one interval. Monday to Saturday 7.30pm; Wednesday & Saturday 2.30pm

Booking Dates

First Performance

Thursday 1st January 2015

Last Performance

Saturday 7th January 2017