This year is quite a significant one in my family because all three of me, my brother and my sister have finished a significant stage of our education. As my return coincided very neatly with my sister’s last exam, my mum proposed a celebratory trip to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is currently in preview showings on Drury Lane. Obviously I was very enthusiastic!
We drove down to London after everyone was finished with work and school on Tuesday, which meant that we didn’t have enough time for a proper sit-down dinner before the show. I did a quick mental scan through my London restaurant bucket list for something quick and close and, as we approached Covent Garden, led the fam into MEATmarket, just behind the Jubilee Market Hall.
I’d heard a LOT about this after it first opened and have been wanting to try it ever since. It didn’t let me down! It was early – about 6:30 so there was no line and we were served quickly. Inside, the menu is on a board by the door, and you order at a counter, fast-food stylie. The other side is all windows looking over the market hall – not the most scenic view, it has to be said.
My brother and I both went for the Dead Hippy, basically a burger all dressed up in the mysterious “Dead Hippy Sauce.” It also came with two patties, which scared me a bit when I first looked at the menu – I thought it was gonna be HUGE – but it was actually a perfect size, all wrapped up in retro stylie red and white paper.
I didn’t get a picture of the inside but it was perfectly cooked, nice and pink so it wasn’t too tough at all, and the burger held up well against all the juices and greasiness which is always a plus – nothing worse than a burger falling apart in your hands! We also got a couple of portions of fries to share, which are thin, kind of like McDonalds fries, and not too salty or greasy, and my sister got the Philly Cheesesteak which she declared “tasted like fajitas.” I didn’t sample due to all the cheese, so we’ll have to take her word for it. Overall MEATmarket might not have been the classiest, most civilised joint for a pre-theatre meal, but that wasn’t what we were after and it was perfect for what we wanted!
After cramming down our burgers in a suitably uncivilized fashion, it was time to head over to the theatre. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory is in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and we were sitting on the second row which really made the experience quite different from other shows I’ve seen – we were so close!
The show was fabulous. It’s one of my favourite Roald Dahl stories and I was very interested to see how they’d make such fantastical scenes come to life, but they did a great job of incorporating technology and live action – I won’t spoil it, but the Oompa Loompas are particularly great! The five kids playing the Golden Ticket winners were also fab and have been updated a little bit to fit the time: Veruca Salt, my favourite, becomes a prima donna ballerina while Violet Beauregard, my other fave, was a hilariously feisty and adorable little rapper. If you go, make sure to keep an eye on the kids whenever they’re standing on the sidelines because their reactions to what goes on “around” them are just brilliant!
Wonka himself, along with Grandpa Joe and my new favourite character Grandma Georgina, were also great and overall the show had a lot of really nice little touches throughout. I think they’ve struck a perfect balance between the original story and the modern stage, and the songs are (almost) all original to the show which provides a fresh new take no matter how many times you’ve seen the movie(s)!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opens on June 25 and I would highly recommend it – it’s a perfect feelgood, summer evening out!