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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 October 2013
Marc Shaiman's (Hairspray the Musical and numerous brilliant film scores)new musical 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is a bit of a mixed bag. There are moments of brilliance mixed in freely with mediocrity. Personally, I found it to be a very enjoyable listening experience as a whole and I will be listening to it frequently over the coming weeks - but I can understand why the critics have been quite harsh.
On first listen none of the new songs are very memorable. While listening each is good and enjoyable; but after the CD finished they are all easily forgettable - with ONE exception: Pure Imagination, which wasn't even written for this show.

Apparently (if the internet is to be believed) audiences/critics were saying the second half of the show needed something 'more'. Then some bright spark came up with the idea of putting the most popular song from the film version of the story into this production. Does that work? Almost. Pure Imagination is a brilliant song and it fits nicely into this show; but it also highlights how unmemorable the rest of the songs are.

Now, having said that, there is a lot to love in this production. Firstly: the kids are all excellent. There are moments where diction is a problem; but all is forgiven in the face of such incredible talent. Each child is given a moment to shine and they really give their all. Stand-outs are Charlie and Veruca.
There's also a nice blend of music styles in this show (similar to last years brilliant 'Bring it On - The Musical') - used very effectively to accentuate each child's character. So, you get R&B for Violet, Electronica for Mike etc. It's very effective and makes for a more interesting listening experience.

Now, onto Mr. Wonka himself: Douglas Hodge. Mr. Hodge won an Tony for his performance in last years revival of La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway. I hated him on that recording. He sings through his nose and overacts. But, that is just a personal opinion. So, when I heard he was cast as Wonka for this production I was really disappointed. However, he is actually pretty good here. He still sings through his nose; but it's toned down quite substantially. It helps that he has some very nice ballads to sing (including the wonderful Pure Imagination).

Compared to other recent - and in some ways similarly upbeat - shows that have appeared in the West End and on Broadway (Matilda, Kinky Boots) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory does stand out as being one of the better ones.

If you like your music diverse and upbeat and want something you can sing along to (once you've listened to it a few times so the songs stand out!) then CaeCF is the show for you! Recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2013
When I heard that Shaiman and Wittman were penning a new original score for Roald Dahl's deliciously delightful story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I have to say, I squealed with delight! This pair having devised the utterly divine scores of Hairspray and Catch Me If You Can are no strangers to catchy, memorable melodies! However, when I read the reviews for the London Production of Charlie, they all picked up one crucial point:

'Marc Shaiman's otherwise unmemorable score, most songs having more style than substance, with words hard to decipher.'

'What this Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also lacks is a memorable soundtrack. The dozen-odd collection of new songs, written by the Broadway hit factory Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, mostly missed the mark.'

Hmmmmmmmmm, I said to my self. I needed to listen to this score ASAP. So, I watched the videos on YouTube and on the official Charlie website. For the entire week later, I was singing and humming 'Don't Ya Pinch Me, Charlie' - one of the best numbers from the show.When I finally got hold of the cast album, I sat myself in a quiet room and listened to them all from start to finish, with no interruptions. Here was my verdict:

Obviously, the creative team have tried to modernise the story - giving it a 21st century slant. This is evident in the music - Shaiman never fails to use as many genres and styles in his scores and to great effect! Ranging from RNB for Violet, Electronica for Mike and a soft shoe number for the Grandparents. Yes, they may not seem catchy at first and not grab you like they should, but in the end, they do grow on you!

My personal favourites have to be The Amazing Fantastical History of Willy Wonka (the kickline towards the end is so cheesy but I love it so much and the humour from Grandma Georgina cracks me up everytime), Don't Ya Pinch Me Charlie (witty lyrics and a great melody), It Must Be Believed To Be Seen (some great distinctive rhythms used) and A Little Me (bizarre lyrics but melodic tune).

Also, I do think a special mention has to go to Doug Besterman who expertly wrote the orchestrations for the production - they are not only witty and inventive but at the same time awe-inspiring running alongside the theme of hope and expectation from the heart of the story. I even thought I heard a kazzoo or two in one of the numbers?! Bravo!

Buy it! Have a listen! Enjoy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2014
I loved the show when I saw it and the soundtrack makes it easier to pick out how clever some of the lyrics are. The songs are brilliant and catchy and I don't regret the ridiculous amount of times I've listened to this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2014
As this was a xmas present, I can only tell you that the P/p were great,
and it came earlier than expected.
My Neice said it,s great!.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2014
Went to see the musical with my daughter last autumn and got this for her afterwards. She sings along to the songs in her room. Found it to be a bit cheaper here than if I had bought from the theatre shop too...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
Loved this show on stage - and the music is a great reminder of a wonderful evening - would def recommend
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on 20 December 2013
For all Musical lovers everywhere. The worry about the majority of the music being different to the film evaporates away.
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on 5 December 2013
Witty lyrics come across more clearly than they do in the theatre. An enjoyable reminder of a pleasant evening in the theatre
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on 23 November 2013
An absolutely brilliant CD with some super tunes. Booklet is one of the best I have seen. Cannot recommend enough!
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on 7 November 2013
The stage show is absolutely brilliant and listening to the music is a reminder of just how brilliant the show is.
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