If you are looking for a show to keep children entertained, then this family friendly adaptation of a beloved classic is sure to be a hit and satisfy the curiosity of long-time fans.

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has provided a wealth of material to amaze and delight generations of audiences. Staying close enough to the source material, this adaption hits many of the major story beats: Charlie Bucket gains the opportunity of a lifetime when they find one of five highly sought after golden tickets that allows them access to a mysterious chocolate factory owned by the eccentric Willy Wonka, changing their life forever.

Some of the positives of the show, directed by James Brining, include its distinct twist created through fleshing out characters, new snappy songs, and a technological makeover. Charlie’s other grandparents, the parents of the spoiled children, and the TV presenters documenting the Wonka hysteria, are all given more time to shine; adding to the comical tone of the show and providing context to move the plot along.

This Charlie Bucket, played by Noah Walton, is given an added character arc of being an inventor. They finding purpose in things where others see rubbish, mirroring Willy Wonka’s traits. This change makes the character stand out more alongside the other children niches, whereas historically Charlie was defined by being a good, honest person who happened to be very poor. Making the character of Violet Beauregarde a teen TV personality is also a smart move.

In terms of the music, it’s a shame how clearly the two classic songs Candy Man and Pure Imagination stand out compared to Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman’s newer additions. Although commendable for their wordplay, they just don’t quite hit the same heights as the classics.

The futuristically styled set designed by Simon Higlett both brings the story into the present and works around a lot of the practical problems of portraying a massive colourful factory by using impressive projections and some imaginative set pieces. The glass elevator and TV sections in particular are quite ingenious. However, with this update both the factory and the robot Oompa Loompas lose their originality and mystery. Now Willy Wonka sways more towards a generic scientist rather than an unconventional chocolatier as more emphasis is put on the cold metallic machines than the colourful creations themselves.

The ensemble definitely carry a lot of responsibility for making the songs look and sound exciting. They bring so much energy that the show is still fun to watch. There are a few pacing issues where parts grind to a halt. Likewise some of the more interesting sequences in the second act feel rushed. Still, this is a pretty decent effort to take the original material and run in a different direction to the beloved 1971 film which has to be admired.