Theatre: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
"Beyond this door's a factoryThis stage musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's iconic children's novel opened June 2013 on London's West End. David Greig wrote the book, with Marc Shaiman providing the music and co-writing the lyrics with Scott Wittman; Sam Mendes directed.This musical has Internal Homages to (and one song from) the novel's two film incarnations, but is no Screen-to-Stage Adaptation — even more than those versions it revels in the novel's Black Comedy while throwing in more than a few twists on the familiar plot and characters.The London production is currently taking bookings through June 2016 (a date always subject to change). A Broadway transfer is planned, but because it depends on Mendes's other theatre and film commitments and such variables as theatre availability, nothing is set in stone. The original London cast recording was released in October 2013.See also the character sheet.
Begat from just a bean
Beyond this door
Surprise is in store
But it must be believed to be seen"
Begat from just a bean
Beyond this door
Surprise is in store
But it must be believed to be seen"
—Willy Wonka, greeting his guests in the Act One finale
In addition to many of its source novel's tropes, this stage musical contains examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: Charlie is a budding, curious, even mischevious inventor with a great imagination, as established in his solos "Almost Nearly Perfect" and "A Letter from Charlie Bucket". See also The Reveal.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The Backstory of the Oompa-Loompas and how they came to be Mr. Wonka's workforce turned up in both of the novel's film adaptations, but is reduced to a Cryptic Background Reference here, with Mr. Wonka only saying that they are "an ancient, long-lost tribe from Loompaland". This may have been for pacing reasons and/or to downplay its notorious Happiness in Slavery implications.
- Adapted Out: Mrs. Salt; the only reference to her is an easy-to-miss lyric in "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet".
- All Musicals Are Adaptations
- All Take and No Give: Mr. Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas use this specifically as a justification for turning Augustus into fudge — the "Bavarian Beefcake" isn't mean to anyone (though he does call Willy Wonka "stupid" at one point), but his gross and greedy nature means that he will be far more useful to the world as confectionery.Oompa-Loompas: "You never tried to make a friend/But now we'll have some fun!"
Willy Wonka: "For as a boy, he was so-so/But he makes tasty fudge!"
- And later:
- And, of course, Veruca and her dad provide a straight example of this relationship.
- Altum Videtur / Bilingual Bonus / Gratuitous French: Mr. Wonka uses this during "Strike That, Reverse It", to intentionally confuse the visitors and/or because he's speaking too quickly to make sure everything he's saying makes sense. In his summary of the contracts, the phrases he's using sound legal and important, but those who know their English meanings would realize it's all mostly babble.The undersigned herein to fore
Cite frippery or force majeure
No property be touched or chewed or peddled...
De facto habeus corpus laws
For you a new grandfather's clause
Sign there, there, there, there, there
Thank God that's settled!
- On the cast album, Mr. Wonka directs the couplet "Sine non quon and entre nous/Your foot is on the other shoe" to Mrs. Teavee (she's wearing her shoes on the wrong feet). The first part is Latin for, roughly, "essential condition" and the second is French for "between us"/"confidentially".
- Amazing Technicolor World: The factory. The corridors are utilitarian, but the rooms...
- Ambiguously Evil: Willy Wonka. "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" even sounds like a Villain Song.
- And Starring: The actor who plays Grandpa Joe gets the And credit after the other adult principals are listed, if his credit isn't right behind Willy Wonka's. Grandpa Joe is the secondary adult lead, after all, and the role's originator, Nigel Planer, was even the most recognizable name in the cast (a name in British comedy since The Young Ones in The Eighties, he's since had several musical roles, such as the Wizard in the original London cast of Wicked).
- Animals Not to Scale: Most of the squirrels in the Nut Room are normal-sized, but once Veruca earns their wrath, several much larger ones (with Oompa-Loompa riders) appear!
- Arc Symbol: An unfinished/incomplete book — a novel with pages missing, a thrown-away and water-damaged notebook that still has good blank pages... and Mr. Wonka's idea notebook.
- Arc Words: Nothing and something.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the novel, the kids' crimes are eating too much, being spoilt, watching too much television...and chewing gum. So this Violet is also a Shameless Self-Promoter / Small Name, Big Ego, with her and her dad parlaying her non-talent into a lucrative entertainment career.
- Ascended Extra: Charlie's parents and other grandparents; the former get a Parental Love Song and the latter enjoy equal status with Grandpa Joe in delivering exposition. Mrs. Teavee is also transformed from a more-or-less homogenous parent role into a Stepford Smiler housewife and frequent comic relief.
- As You Know: With a humorous twist. Unlike in the novel, Charlie's grandparents have recounted the saga of Willy Wonka and his factory to him more than once, but he loves it so much that he convinces them that they haven't — after all, they are old and may be misremembering things. Thus the audience hears the story too.
- Audience Participation: Adults sitting in the front row should note that if there isn't an unoccupied seat, and sometimes if there is, one of them will get their lap briefly sat upon by Mr. Wonka at the top of Act Two.
- Audio Description: One of several West End shows offering this periodically (via special headsets and live narration).
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: After Augustus goes up the pipe, the tour group overhears Mr. Wonka calling the Fudge Room to instruct an Oompa-Loompa to get Augustus out of the vat. "Otherwise he's likely to be caramelized and that would be terrible...just think of it, bones in my toffee!"
- Big Fun: Mrs. Gloop sees her son as this in "More of Him to Love", but perception and reality...
- Big Red Button: Played for laughs. Upon boarding the Great Glass Elevator, Mr. Wonka instructs Charlie to push the button marked Don't Push. By then, Charlie is Genre Savvy enough to know that "Something crazy's going to happen, isn't it?" (Mr. Wonka asks "How did you guess?")
- Boastful Rap: "The Double Bubble Duchess" for Violet and her dad.
- Bowdlerise: The Running Gag involving grouchy sweet stall owner Mrs. Pratchett (see below) originally had her commenting "Chocolate! Chocolate! Gives you diabetes and heart disease!" When an audience member called out this line as offensive to type 1 diabetics (whose conditions are not affected by diet), it was changed to "Chocolate! Chocolate! Not one of your five a day!"
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Willy Wonka demands "No dillying, no dallying...no shillying, no shallying...and certainly no silly dallying..."
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick
Grandparents: Off to bed now
- In the (now-cut) "Creation Overture", the narrator rattles off a list of additional ingredients one might add to chocolate: "...vanilla, coffee, toffee, kiwis, seaweed, liquorice, cinnamon, bicycles, babies, anything you like..."
- In "A Letter from Charlie Bucket", there's this stretch of lyrics:
Charlie Bucket: Counting sheep
Grandparents: Hope we don't die in our sleep
- As Violet chews her way through the first few courses of the experimental gum, which recreates a Sunday dinner one might have enjoyed in 1979, Mr. Wonka envisions a homey scene: "Sunday afternoon — all the family in the parlour — pick of the pops on the radio...Granny dribbling in the corner."
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Willy Wonka has Medium Awareness and does this a few times.
- Brick Joke: When the company takes their bows, Mr. Wonka is first seen in one of the theatre's box seats, having successfully entered that world.
- Butterfly of Transformation: During "Simply Second Nature", a song about Mr. Wonka's need to create beautiful things, a sudden wave of his cane reveals a butterfly perched upon it. Given the theme of humble things and people containing (or concealing) great beauty and possibility, that likely isn't there just to look pretty...
- Canon Foreigner: Mrs. Pratchett — though she's an equivalent to the sweetshop owner in the novel and film adaptations — and the TV reporters Jerry and Cherry.
- Central Theme: The transformative power of imagination.
- City with No Name: The Buckets' home and Wonka's Factory exist in one; cultural detailing implies that it's in England. (There's even a Separated by a Common Language joke.) The key exception is the Great Glass Elevator as opposed to Lift, probably because the book's sequel went with the former term.
- Comically Missing the Point: Veruca's undoing is dramatized with a ballet spoof as she faces off with the giant squirrels. Mr. Wonka, watching from above with the others, calls out some advice:Willy Wonka: Stomach in, chest out.Mr. Salt: Wonka, for God's sake, help her!Willy Wonka: I can't, her posture is terrible.
- Confetti Drop: Twice. First, it's Black Comedy: Violet exploding results in a shower of purple glitter over the balconies. The second time, it's festive as confetti cannons are shot off to celebrate Charlie's triumph.
- Contrived Coincidence: It factors into The Reveal: In the opening scene, Charlie and a disguised Willy Wonka happen to be at the dump at the same time. Because of this some later events that look like coincidences aren't; Mr. Wonka has engineered them.
- Cool Chair: In the Waiting Room of the factory each brat gets a chair that seems to have been designed for him/her. Augustus's is Oktoberfest-styled and clearly designed to support his weight, Veruca's is dainty and pink, Violet's is shiny silver, and Mike's resembles a roller coaster seat and even has a joystick in one armrest. Poor Charlie's chair is a plain wooden one, seemingly befitting his The Runt at the End status.
- Costume Porn: It's vital to Act Two, with a variety of trick costumes, some of which cross over with puppetry, used to transform the full-sized adults in the ensemble into the Oompa-Loompas. Willy Wonka's costume also deserves mention for being extremely faithful to Dahl's original description.
- Creation Sequence: Rather than a traditional overture a short animated film detailing how chocolate is made (designed by Quentin Blake, a frequent Roald Dahl collaborator), "Creation Overture", served to ease the audience into the show. It was deleted when the first cast turnover took place in 2014, for reasons unknown.
- Creative Sterility: Charlie is the only Golden Ticket finder who isn't affected by this. The brats consume rather than create and their parents are unable to understand the concept of Doing It for the Art.
- Crowd Song: All of the Oompa-Loompas' numbers, as per usual. "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" evolves into this as everyone celebrates Charlie's Golden Ticket find.
- Cryptic Background Reference: Played for Laughs during "Vidiots": Apparently, Mr. Wonka used to go to raves, but back problems became an issue...
- Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: The four bratty kids really suffer for disobeying Mr. Wonka's warnings about where to go, what not to touch, etc. But Charlie is rewarded for reading and adding to the idea notebook...a Secret Test of creativity.
- Cut Song: Not a whole song, but the second verse of "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka" (about the Serious Business of his sweets) was cut with the 2014 cast turnover in favor of skipping to the Prince Pondicherry story. (It is preserved on the cast album.)
- Cyber Punk Is Techno: Electronic music is used for Mike's lines in "It's Teavee Time" and the entirety of "Vidiots".
- Cyberspace: Mike zaps himself into this via the Chocolate Television setup...and as Mr. Wonka grimly notes, "No one ever goes back to normal after they've been on television. It's a well-known fact."
- Daddy's Girl: Both Veruca — though she is also All Take and No Give, especially when she's mad — and Violet. These don't lead to good things, however!
- Darker and Edgier: It takes the novel's Black Comedy a few steps further, most obviously with the brats' fates. But it's not that far removed from its source and remains a family-friendly show.
- Deadpan Snarker: Willy Wonka, as per usual, but several Act One-specific characters snark too, such as Mrs. Pratchett and Cherry Sunday (particularly where her egotistical colleague Jerry is concerned).
- Death by Adaptation: Happens to Prince Pondicherry in the Backstory as a prelude to this trope being highly possible for the bratty kids apart from Mike (who gets a Fate Worse Than Death)! In the case of Augustus, Mr. Wonka assures the group that he will be fine and rescued before his bones get in the toffee, but he doesn't sound reassuring ("At least he died doing what he loved best."). Violet explodes and Mr. Beauregarde is sent to take her to the Juicing Room before she starts to ferment, which Mr. Wonka says will get her back to normal ("or, you know, near enough"). Veruca and Mr. Salt...well, they certainly head for the incinerator! (How would Mr. Wonka NOT have a lawsuit on his hands?! Read the Fine Print perhaps — he certainly rushed through those contracts!) Since there's no confirmation of their ultimate fates, the following tropes potentially apply and/or are discussed. All are Played for Laughs.
- Black Comedy Cannibalism / Just Desserts ("Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop" is specifically about how this rotten boy will be turned into a tasty treat, and in "Juicy!" the Oompa-Loompas note that when Violet explodes "We'll scoop up every chunk/And we'll serve her a la mode")
- Cruel and Unusual Death
- Curiosity Killed the Cast
- Death as Comedy
- Death by Materialism (Veruca)
- Disney Death (Offstage for Violet if she's lucky, and she may be Not Quite Back to Normal if she is)
- Disproportionate Retribution (As Veruca and her father apparently have no hope of rescue, Charlie and Grandpa Joe dawdle after they vanish, pondering the matter. Grandpa Joe notes "She was rather annoying." "But even so...")
- Dwindling Party
- Family-Unfriendly Death
- Karmic Death
- Killed Offscreen (The kids and Mr. Salt all face doom offstage, with the songs cheerfully detailing the specifics of what's to happen. The audience does see what remains of Violet, after a fashion, via a sparkly Confetti Drop.)
- Pop Goes the Human (Violet)
- Uncertain Doom (All of them might survive, but the audience will never know)
- Undignified Death (Veruca and her dad especially)
- Demoted to Extra: Three of the brats' parents only appear in the kids' Act One introductory sequences. Mr. Gloop participating in "More of Him to Love" is more than he gets to do in either film. Mrs. Beauregarde is a background extra. Mr. Teavee is a prop with a single line ("Wha?"). As for Mrs. Salt, she's Adapted Out.
- Dispense With The Pleasantries / Hates Small Talk: Willy Wonka; in "Strike That, Reverse It" he is more concerned with getting the contracts signed and starting the tour:Mr. Salt: Wonka! Sir Robert Salt! Salt's Salty Nuts!Willy Wonka: (very quickly) Pleased to meet you, Bob. Peanut business treating you well?Mr. Salt: Well, actually...
- Door Closes Ending: At the end of Act One, the winners head into the factory through a heavy metal door; Mr. Wonka follows them through and after Breaking the Fourth Wall to invite the audience in as well slams it shut. By that point there's only a spotlight on the door in a sort of Iris Out effect; when it's slammed shut, the whole stage goes dark.
- Double Meaning Title: "A Little Me" means both "a little like me" and "a smaller version of me" in context.
- Down in the Dumps: The Bucket house is located near one. Both Charlie and his dad stop there regularly to find potentially useful items; it's as much a symbol of possibility and creativity as of decay and waste.
- Dumb Blonde: Both Augustus and Veruca.
- Eating Contest: Augustus Gloop is noted as a "three times regional bratwurst eating champion".
- Edible Theme Naming / Punny Name: Cherry Sunday, who interviews each Golden Ticket finder.
- The Eleven O'Clock Number: The otherwise new score incorporates one song from the 1971 film adaptation of the novel — "Pure Imagination" — to serve this function.
- Enfant Terrible: Mike. As Mrs. Teavee explains, "[T]he authorities request/That little Mike not leave the house"; he's done everything from setting a cat on fire to stealing a German tank! His fixation on electronics is the only reliable way to keep him out of trouble, but it makes his attention span shorter and attitude nastier. She's actually relieved when he shrinks, because he won't be able to cause any more trouble!
- Exact Words: The Golden Ticket finders are promised a lifetime supply of sweets. One Everlasting Gobstopper counts. Grandpa Joe gives a What the Hell, Hero? speech to Mr. Wonka, pushing a Berserk Button — only Charlie, Standing Between the Enemies, is able to stop them from actually fighting.
- The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: Specific to the track listing on the cast album, "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" (there's no Title Drop).
- Fixing The Game: How Mike "finds" his Golden Ticket. He hacks into Mr. Wonka's computers and gets one without buying a Wonka Bar at all.
- Flashback / Separate Scene Storytelling: When Charlie closes his eyes to visualize the Prince Pondicherry story in "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka", the sequence is presented to the audience in the style of a shadow puppet play.
- Follow Your Heart: "Pure Imagination".
- Forbidden Zone: The Department of the Future has all the trappings of one from the outside, Played for Laughs. It's 10,000 feet below the surface of the Earth, and accessible only by a boat ride past various failed projects of Mr. Wonka's (he rarely visits — it's so far ahead of its time), with an entrance door surrounded by ominous signs discouraging entry. Grandpa Joe and Charlie are nervous, but it can't be that bad if they've been brought there...can it? As the two go in Mr. Wonka can be heard laughing an Evil Laugh! This is where the Television Chocolate setup is kept, and it does prove to be dangerous for Mike...
- Foreshadowing: Lots!
- In "Almost Nearly Perfect", Charlie has a fantasy of a happier existence when he comes across a book with missing pages at the dump: "Not a problem, I know how it ends/Good King Charlie in his kingdom/Lots of chocolate, lots of friends!" (Later, Willy Wonka and his factory will be described in similarly royal terms...)
- The Prince Pondicherry Flashback is tweaked. First, he commissioned the chocolate palace to please a chocolate-craving bride, and second, when it melted in the summer — Mr. Wonka warned them that it would, but did they listen? — with them inside, they died. This presages several potential Deaths by Adaptation and the general old-school Fairy Tale attitude that unchecked and indulged greed, pride, etc. will be severely punished and unmourned in time.
- Grandpa Joe is willing to give up the little he's saved to make sure Charlie gets his annual birthday bar of chocolate because the boy deserves a present. In the late going, he demands Mr. Wonka give Charlie a "proper" lifetime supply of sweets because he deserves it for being good. And as Charlie is still grateful for that chocolate bar even though it doesn't have a Golden Ticket, he accepts the Everlasting Gobstopper because it's "an amazing present".
- On the grounds of Veruca's Big Fancy House, the hedge that surrounds it includes squirrel topiaries, suggesting she has a fondness for the little critters.
- In "The Double Bubble Duchess", Violet raps that the gum she's chewing is "fruity, not nutty/Like that stupid girl Veruca". Considering what happens to each girl later...
- When Charlie uses a dropped pound note to buy a Wonka Bar from Mrs. Prachett, she sarcastically comments "You've finally come into your inheritance?" That bar contains a Golden Ticket...
- "Strike That, Reverse It" is full of this. Mr. Wonka, "complimenting" Augustus, says "I could eat you up. Except I'm on a diet." One trip through the pipes later, and the boy might become fudge! (This also puts a cruel twist on "More of Him to Love"!) He tells Violet "Your confidence is quite intense/But just don't jump the gum." Almost as soon as a stick of experimental gum is within her reach, she grabs it and starts to chew...There's also a question asked in passing that has a Double Meaning and (cast album only) a mangled saying that seems like a coded clue for the climax ( "Do as I do, not as I say").
- Fur and Loathing: Veruca's fur coat is usually just to emphasize that's she's a Spoiled Brat. In this version, when Mr. Wonka asks if her coat is mink, her father says the coat is made from clubbed baby seals that were "tickled pink"note .
- Genre Roulette: Charlie and his family's songs are old-fashioned showtunes ala The Sherman Brothers or Oliver! Each of the four brats gets a different style (two in Violet's case). Augustus = polka, Veruca = ballet pastiche, Violet = first kid-friendly rap and later disco, and Mike = electronic music. As for Willy Wonka, his songs range from a jazzy Showstopper ("It Must Be Believed to Be Seen") to emotional ballads ("Simply Second Nature" and "Pure Imagination") to bouncy, patter-heavy English music hall-style numbers ("Strike That, Reverse It" and "A Little Me").
- Genre Savvy: The Teavees are this by experience until Mike's endgame.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Mr. Wonka's "entire Sunday roast dinner" gum. "Violet, whatever you do don't hit [blueberry] pudding."...
- Grade School CEO: Charlie immediately takes Mr. Wonka's place as factory owner (with his family and the Oompa-Loompas supporting him); the Pep Talk Song "A Little Me" has Mr. Wonka reassuring him that he has what it takes to be this trope.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: "Juicy!", which underscores Violet's undoing.
- Greed: Not only are Augustus and Veruca greedy in their own ways, but Mr. Salt is interested in hiring the Oompa-Loompas because, being only half-sized compared to ordinary people, he could pay them half the wages, and Mr. Beauregarde is a Slimeball in his marketing and merchandising of Violet.
- Green Aesop: "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet" plays this for laughs as the Oompa-Loompas condemn her wasteful greediness: She "Thought recycling was beneath her/She's the cause of global warming!" (As she's being hauled by the squirrels towards an incinerator!)
- Heel-Face Turn: Of a sort. Mrs. Teavee is the only parent to come around to Mr. Wonka's way of thinking when she gets swept up in her son's exit song and sings and dances along. She is also completely satisfied when she finds Mike has shrunk, because he won't cause trouble any more.
- Holding Hands: Friendship example: Willy Wonka and Charlie hold hands during their trip in the Great Glass Elevator.
- Homemade Inventions: The Buckets' television set — Mr. Bucket pedals a stationary bicycle to power it. They don't use it that often!
- Horrible Hollywood: Violet and her dad embody its shallow and greedy sides: She's conceited, ditzy, and talentless, but thanks to him she's a wildly successful starlet complete with entourage.
- Hurricane of Puns: There are puns throughout this show, but they swirl around Violet. "The Double Bubble Duchess" has puns based around gum and the word "pop" (as in bubbles and pop culture). Even more...well...pop up in "Juicy!": "She's gonna hit the big time/When the big gum drops/She'll finally burst her bubble/On the Top of the Pops"...
- "I Am Great!" Song: Willy Wonka's first song (and the Act One finale) "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" has him addressing the Golden Ticket winners outside the factory, promising endless wonders within it — all of his invention. Doubles as a Welcoming Song...with the spectacle and stylistic flourishes of a Villain Song.
- "I Am" Song: Quite a few, including four consecutive songs in Act One!
- "Almost Nearly Perfect" (Charlie Bucket)
- "More of Him to Love" (The Gloop family)
- "When Veruca Says" (Veruca Salt and her dad, the latter of whom handles most of the singing)
- "The Double Bubble Duchess" (Violet and her dad)
- "It's Teavee Time" (Mrs. Teavee and Mike; his part overlaps with Villain Song)
- The bridge of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" and the entirety of "Simply Second Nature" (Willy Wonka)
- I Am What I Am: "Simply Second Nature" is this for Mr. Wonka, who feels no shame in being an eccentric driven to create such novelties as the Chocolate Room simply to make the world a lovelier place.It's simply second nature
To see what isn't there
The mind is such a wonder to explore
And though some nights I dread
All the voices in my head
I'd rather be this way than be a bore!
- Ice-Cream Koan (How apt!): During "Strike That, Reverse It":Willy Wonka: Is something wrong?Charlie: It's nothing sir.Willy Wonka: Nothing is always something, Charlie, except when a person makes something out of nothing. Now which is it with you?Charlie: I don't know.Willy Wonka: Are you the sort of boy who makes something out of nothing?Charlie: No sir, it's just — you're not what I expected.Willy Wonka: That's a coincidence....I'm not what I expected either.
- Idle Rich: The Lovebird Couple who accidentally wind up at the dump. Mrs. Pratchett overcharges them for a few Wonka Bars. A pound note falls from the man's pocket as they run off to hail a taxi, and it's this that Charlie uses to buy the Wonka Bar that contains the last Golden Ticket.
- I Have Just One Thing to Say: The climactic scene hinges on this, as delivered by Mr. Willy Wonka to Charlie regarding his daydreaming habit, which Wonka initially suggests is as bad as the brats' vices.
- Incredibly Long Note: On the cast album version of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" Douglas Hodge, at full belt, manages to make the final seen last ten seconds. (On stage, the note is cut off sooner as he calls out the Golden Ticket winners, dialogue that's moved to the bridge of the song on the album.)
- Infectious Enthusiasm: Mrs. Teavee — the Only Sane Person through most of Act Two, terrified by the strange world of the factory and the fates of the misbehaving kids — ends up affected by this in "Vidiots", The Villain Sucks Song regarding her son.
- In-Joke: Mrs. Pratchett is named after an unpleasant real life sweetshop owner whom a young Roald Dahl and his friends played a prank on, as recounted in his memoir Boy.
- Internal Homage: Several to the 1971 film adaptation:
- When Mr. Wonka first appears, he briefly feigns being feebler than he actually is — referencing Gene Wilder's famous entrance as Wonka. (Instead of a somersault, he performs an Instant Costume Change.)
- The 1971 Wonka's tendency to mix up his words, followed by the phrase "Strike that, reverse it", is retained here (as in the novel's sequel, which made it Ret Canon) to the point that "Strike That, Reverse It" is the title of the Act Two opening number. Since this Wonka can be a Motor Mouth at times, such mixups are common for him. Also, during the number he makes the parents sign an elaborate contract...
- "Pure Imagination" is The Eleven O'Clock Number. Also counts as a Bootstrapped Theme.
- There's at least one reference to the 2005 film, as Augustus finds his Golden Ticket the same way in both versions: Noticing that a Wonka Bar he's eating tastes odd, he realizes it's because he's chewed off a corner of the ticket with his first bite! (It's also suggested that Mr. Bucket lost his toothpaste factory job because of automated machinery making him redundant, which was the situation in the '05 film.)
- Is It Something You Eat?: Big Eater Augustus asks this when they enter the Chocolate Room — and he wants to eat all of it! Of course, since this is Willy Wonka's work, he's right!
- It's All Upstairs from Here: The last room Charlie and Grandpa Joe are shown, the Imagining Room, is the topmost room of the factory (as Mr. Wonka puts it, "If you were any further up, you'd be down") and can only be accessed by a staircase.
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: In the cellars of the factory are projects of Mr. Wonka's that qualify as this: multi-colored "Easter pigs to make Easter bacon...to go with Easter eggs? Not one of my better ideas...", life-sized and crying jelly babies in cribs, and even Square Sweets That Look Round in a Mythology Gag.
- "I Want" Song: "A Letter from Charlie Bucket" establishes his generous nature in that what he wants is for his ideas for new treats to be realized by Mr. Wonka. Said treats can improve the lives of Charlie's family, if only by making them feel happy. At the end, he admits there are two things he wants for himself — for Mr. Wonka to deliver them personally so that they can all meet him, "And well, I'd like one Wonka Bar/That I would share with you."
- Karmic Jackpot: In contrast to the possible Karmic Deaths for some of the naughty kids, Charlie gets this for being kind to the tramp and unconsciously revealing his worthy, creative, appreciative nature to him. The tramp is Mr. Wonka in a disguise.
- Kent Brockman News: Jerry gets annoyed when his commentary on the Golden Ticket frenzy and attempts at cute nicknames for it ("A-choc-alypse" and "Chocageddon!") are interrupted by Cherry's news of the fourth ticket being found.
- Koan: Two of Willy Wonka's songs are centered on koans — "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" and "A Little Me" ("It's all the things you aren't/That make you what you are").
- Lampshade Hanging
- When Charlie introduces himself to Mr. Wonka, he replies "Aren't you the boy who got his ticket at the very last moment? Don't leave it so late next time."
- When the Oompa-Loompas begin to sing "Vidiots" Mrs. Teavee remarks, "The little people are singing again. That's never a good sign."
- Mr. Wonka tweaks the over-the-top nature of the bad kids' fates: "True, we lost a few children along the way...but we all learned something and that's the important thing!"
- Charlie's incredulity at Mr. Wonka not only choosing him — a boy with no candymaking experience — as his successor but making him a Grade School CEO immediately is what cues the song "A Little Me".
- Last-Second Word Swap: Mr. Wonka greets Augustus with "Goodness, you look so faaaa...ntastically healthy."
- Leitmotif: A chiming arrangement of "A Little Me" is the leitmotif of the dump scenes in Act One (it isn't performed onstage until the final scene of Act Two).
- Make a Wish
- Trying to brighten Charlie's mood, his dad suggests they look for a shooting star to wish upon. Charlie doesn't want a wish wasted on him, but later, when Dad actually sees a shooting star, he says, "Well Charlie, if you won't make a wish, then I will..." The next day, Charlie finds the final Golden Ticket. Coincidence?...
- The trope name is also dropped via Internal Homage in the spoken word introduction to "Pure Imagination": "Hold your breath...make a wish...count to three..." as Willy Wonka reveals the Great Glass Elevator to Charlie.
- Meaningful Echo
- The phrase "just a bean": In the Opening Narration, it pointed up the humble nature of a cacao bean and marveled over how something as lovely as a cacao tree, and from there chocolate, can come from it. As "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" kicks into high gear, Mr. Wonka sings "Beyond this door's a factory/Begat from just a bean". (As a bonus, it's at this point that the viewer realized that he was the narrator.)
- In the opening lines of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" (when he is pretending to be feeble and dreading walking down a small flight of steps), Mr. Wonka paraphrases a famous Tao Te Ching quote with "A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step..." In the cast album version of Act Two's second-to-last song "A Little Me", he assures Charlie "And any journey worth the schlep/Must begin with one small step". And both songs take place outside the factory's main entrance.
- The phrase "making something out of nothing", which initially seems to be an Ice Cream Koan, first appears in "Strike That, Reverse It". In the climactic scene, a Double Meaning — its true meaning — is revealed.
- The phrase "Strike that, reverse it" turns up two more times in more touching contexts. In "Simply Second Nature", Mr. Wonka corrects himself when he says — with regards to his imagination — "It's no blessing, it's a curse!/Wait, no, strike that and reverse/I wouldn't want it any other way". It's later used to explain that Charlie did the right thing by disobeying him to look at the notebook.
- Mr. Wonka calls up Charlie and Grandpa Joe to the Imagining Room with "No time to dally when wonders await!" In the final scene, Charlie says this as he and his family enter the factory to begin their new lives.
- Medley Overture: This show never had a conventional overture (currently it starts "cold" with Charlie at the dump) but it does have an Entr'acte featuring the three most uptempo numbers: "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka", "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie", and "A Little Me". The last serves as an exuberantly fast coda, owing in part to the conductor turning out to be Willy Wonka, who's in a hurry to get the tour of his factory started.
- The Mel Brooks Number: The Oompa-Loompa songs underscoring the naughty kids' demises.
- Midnight Snack: Referenced — Mrs. Gloop thinks the Chocolate Room is "a little cupboard of treats for a midnight feast."
- Million-to-One Chance: When his annual birthday chocolate bar — which he only gets because Grandpa Joe sacrificed what little money he's stashed away — doesn't yield a Golden Ticket, Charlie's hopes seem dashed. Then he comes into some dropped money and buys a single bar from the sweet stall, and...For the whole Bucket family, this incredible turn of events is a sign of hope for their future fortunes and a subversion! Charlie's "luck" was engineered by Mr. Wonka.
- Motor Mouth: As in the novel and 1971 film, Violet — to the point that her chewing habit originated with her mom's efforts to find a way to get her to stop talking! But even she can't compare to this Willy Wonka's speedy way with words.
- Mr. Imagination: Charlie Bucket is more grounded than most — prone to daydreaming, but he uses his imagination to make the best of his lot in life, as demonstrated in "Almost Nearly Perfect". Willy Wonka's first song, "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", establishes that his success had similar origins...
- Musical Chores: "Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop" is a dark spoof of this trope: Imagine a melody as merry and toe-tapping as "Heigh-Ho" or "Whistle While You Work", sung by a race of Little People no less, used to taunt a helpless kid via a description of what they will do to him when he reaches the Fudge Room!
- My Beloved Smother: In contrast to Daddy's Girl Veruca and Violet, Augustus Gloop is spoiled and overfed by his overbearing, food-obsessed mother.
- Mysterious Mist / Ominous Fog: The subterranean river to The Department of the Future has mist swirling about its surface. Given the Forbidden Zone feel to the room from the outside, it carries the connoations of the latter trope as well.
- Mythology Gag
- Charlie's "How'ja do?" Catchphrase in Act One is inspired by the Breaking the Fourth Wall introduction to the character in the opening chapter, in which he, via the third-person narrator, greets the reader with "How d'you do? And how d'you do? And how d'you do again?"
- Charlie's mother takes in laundry to earn money for the family; in the 1971 film, in which Mr. Bucket passed away before the story begins, she worked at a laundry.
- Mike Teavee's favorite videogame is Captain Knuckleduster, a title inspired by the novel's counterpart loving TV shows with gangsters "giving each other the one-two-three with their knuckle-dusters!"
- The show is set in The Present Day and opened in 2013. Willy Wonka is explicitly described as having been a recluse "for over 40 years" — so, since The Sixties, when the novel was published.
- In the novel there are many inventions of Mr. Wonka's only discussed or mentioned in passing: ice cream that never melts, Eatable Marshmallow Pillows, Fizzy Lifting Drinks, etc. Those three and several others are worked into this adaptation as ideas Charlie has.
- Named by the Adaptation: Sir Robert Salt, Eugene Beauregarde, and Doris and Norman Teavee.
- New Media Are Evil: "Vidiots" is a cheeky, exaggerated take on this trope with regards to the perils of using electronic media to babysit unruly kids:And then like some barbaric Huns
Our toddlers all are packing guns
Now children curse and smoke cigars
Our nurseries now have prison bars
(later) Each day they text on their new toy
Their thoughts and their location
But OMG will this destroy
The art of conversation?
- Noisy Robots / Tin-Can Robot: The Everlasting Gobstopper and Great Gum Machines are enormous robots; while they "speak" in groans and squawks, Mr. Wonka understands them as well as they understand his English.
- Not His Sled: Aside from Charlie becoming a Grade School CEO immediately, Willy Wonka leaves this world for the audience's so he can continue his work.
- Not Hyperbole: In "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", Mr. Wonka sings "Your life's about to change now/So don't get left behind". As he leads the Golden Ticket tour group through the factory, this promise proves to be absolutely true...
- Oktoberfest / Yodel Land: The Gloop family embodies these tropes; they're specifically stated to be Bavarian.
- Ominous Multiple Screens: A humorous version appears in the Department of the Future; once Mike zaps himself into Cyberspace he can jump from one to another of five screens at will (Mr. Wonka: "I think it's called channel hopping.").
- Only Sane Man: In "Juicy!", no one is paying attention to the danger Violet is in as she turns into a blueberry. Even Mr. Beauregarde is into the the number and thinking of ways that they can make money off of her state ("Hello, Fruit Monthly...?")! Mr. Salt is the only one who is actually shocked by what's happening. Mrs. Teavee also tends to act as this throughout the tour, pointing out (after a long, nonsensical run between rooms) that the Inventing and Nut Rooms are right next to each other, and is one of the few to express terror over the other families' fates.
- Opening Narration: "Creation Overture" featured this.
- Parental Bonus and/or Shout-Out: In the tradition of previous adaptations, there are jokes and references that apply to one or both tropes. Among them:
- Grandma Georgina is excited to learn that the book with missing pages that Charlie found at the dump is Lady Chatterley's Lover.
- While waiting for him to emerge from the factory, Jerry proclaims that Mr. Wonka has "been hiding in his sugary Shangri-La for over 40 years!" The reference is apt — in both this story and the novel/film Lost Horizon, a wondrous place isolated from the rest of the world turns out to be in need of a new leader.
- "Strike That, Reverse It" has the couplet "It doesn't take a Sigmund Freud/To see I'm charmed and overjoyed". In the cast album version, this is carried further when Mr. Wonka notes that the children are each "A mirror of your parent's id".
- In "Juicy!", it's noted "But you had better hurry/If you wanna grab her ear/Cause in 15 minutes/She is bound to disappear".
- "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet" is effectively The Nutcracker with reversed sympathies — the girl is the villainess and the giant rodents are the heroes! Part of the melody of the song ("Yes, now she'll join the trash below/So spoiled and so rotten/The fish head from a week ago/Some Gouda long forgotten") is even lifted from the famous "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy".
- Parental Love Song: "If Your Mother Were Here" is a parents-to-child example that also affirms Mr. and Mrs. Bucket's love for each other (each thinks the other could do a better job of cheering Charlie up).
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: Mike, The Cracker, figured out Mr. Wonka's password was "golden star". He even boasts "Wonka's security system sucks!" on the red carpet!
- Patter Song: "Strike That, Reverse It" for Willy Wonka. The guests struggle to keep up with him, especially when he summarizes the contracts the kids' guardians must sign, as he is in a hurry to begin the actual tour. (Tellingly, Alex Jennings, who took over the role of Wonka from Douglas Hodge, had to have all but the contract summary slowed down in order to perform it.)
- Pep Talk Song: "A Little Me" is this sung by Willy Wonka to Charlie (see You Are Better Than You Think You Are below).
- Phony Newscast: The I Am Songs for the first four Golden Ticket finders are presented in this manner as Cherry interviews the winners; all are staged in a giant television set.
- Pink Means Feminine: Veruca wears all pink, from her headband to her fur.
- Plot Hole: It's not a big one, but the rest of the Bucket family is waiting at the factory for Charlie and Mr. Wonka when they return from their Great Glass Elevator flight, and have been debriefed on all that's happened. How did all that happen when the "Pure Imagination" sequence takes only a few minutes of stage time? (Could be that it would take longer in reality, and/or is related to the reveal that Mr. Wonka was pulling for Charlie all along.)
- Quick Nip: During "Strike That, Reverse It", as Mike runs amok the frazzled Mrs. Teavee pulls a hip flask from her purse to attempt this. When Mr. Wonka informs her that there's to be no alcohol on the tour, she claims it's "lemonade". He takes a swig of it and expresses his doubts about that; she clarifies that it's "homemade". After another swig, he hands the flask back with the line "You must give me the recipe!"
- Retro Universe / Schizo Tech: While set in The Present Day, Violet's dad has a 1970s funk/disco vibe and look, Mrs. Teavee by her own desperate design looks like she's stepped out of a turn-of-The Sixties sitcom, and the Lovebird Couple seems to have wandered out of a Noel Coward play. The Buckets make do with what they find/modify, and their home and outfits wind up a 1930s-through-'60s hodgepodge (as Sam Mendes noted in an interview with The Telegraph — he also pointed out that it's a pound note Charlie uses to buy the fateful Wonka Bar, which hasn't been around since the turn of The Seventies). In the factory, all bets are off where aesthetics are concerned — invoking the second trope with bucket/pulley elevators, tin can robots, the ultra-high-tech Television Chocolate setup, and a Great Glass Elevator that soars into the night sky. See also Genre Roulette above.
- The Reveal / Walking Spoiler: It turns out that the tramp is Willy Wonka. This covers many additional tropes, so the character sheet has a folder for the relevant character to avoid whiting out huge chunks of this page.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The giant squirrels in the Nut Room.
- Roll Out The Red Carpet: The day of the tour sees a red carpet outside the about-to-open factory gates and journalists and photographers out in force.
- Rule of Three
- The appearances of the Arc Symbol (see above).
- Twice in Act One, Charlie is asked to close his eyes — first by Grandpa Joe as he's telling the Prince Pondicherry story, second by his parents as they try to comfort him. In both cases, doing so helps the boy to imagine wondrous things. The twist the third time? During "Pure Imagination", as the Great Glass Elevator drifts in a starlit sky, Willy Wonka tells him "Time to open your eyes and take a look around." (Also counts as Eye Motifs.)
- Running Gag
- Mrs. Pratchett always calls attention to the downside of chocolate when hawking her wares. "Gives you the trots and lots of spots!" (There's Our Product Sucks, and then there's this!)
- Grandpa Joe has a habit of telling silly tall tales. When he hauls himself out of bed upon learning of Charlie's Golden Ticket find, he assures his bedmates that he'll be fine: "I could run a four-minute mile. Just like I did in the '48 Olympics."
- Scenery Porn: Act One has an ever-moonlit junkyard, the ramshackle Bucket residence, and colorful mini-sets for the first four Golden Ticket finders. Then it's into the factory for Act Two...
- Screaming at Squick: Veruca shrieks upon seeing Augustus drinking from the chocolate waterfall.
- Secret Test: As ever, the tour is a way to find Mr. Wonka's successor. But there's a unique sub-test too: he leaves Charlie alone in a room with his precious idea notebook, having ordered him not to look at it. Charlie cannot resist doing so, and even adds to it...proving to Mr. Wonka that he is a kindred spirit and perfect heir.
- Separated by a Common Language: Mr. Wonka will remind you that the dessert course of his not-yet-perfected gum is blueberry pudding, not pie (as Violet, who is portrayed as American, calls it).
- Serious Business: "The Amazing Fantastical History/Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka" marvels over how desired his impossibly delicious sweets are worldwide, and Cherry is noted as a TV network's "chief confectionery correspondent"; this world takes its chocolate very seriously, so can one be surprised that Mr. Wonka himself has Skewed Priorities with regards to his sweets versus the safety of his tour group?
- Setting Off Song: "Strike That, Reverse It"; doubles as a Patter Song (see above).
- Setting Update: To The New Tens, given Violet and Mike's characterizations, but Retro Universe also applies.
- Sidekick Song: "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" becomes a Crowd Song, but most of it is handled by Older Sidekick Grandpa Joe (who demands the other bedridden grandparents follow his lead and get out of bed to join in). Charlie gets a verse and chorus to himself, but lets Grandpa Joe lead everyone in the final stretch!
- Sigil Spam: A large W crowns the topmost tower of the factory exterior, and it shows up all over the place inside, including on the Oompa-Loompas' boiler suits. Even Mr. Wonka's tie tack is a little gold W.
- Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Type 3 (Pragmatic Adaptation). Adaptation Expansion fleshes out the characters (particularly Charlie and Willy Wonka) and gives the story a stronger climax and distinct Central Theme. Many incidents and conversations from the book that have been cut are referred to in passing and/or repurposed (Lickable Wallpaper, Fizzy Lifting Drinks, etc.), bespeaking a close reading of the source material.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This is a rare idealistic Black Comedy.
- So Proud of You: "A Little Me" is this as Mr. Wonka, the Oompa-Loompas, and Charlie's family celebrate Charlie becoming the heir to the factory — and the wonderful future he has ahead of him. They all know he has a creative spirit, and now he can bring his ideas to fruition.
- Spectacle: The official budget was reportedly 10 million pounds (close to $17 million U.S.) — it shows.
- Spontaneous Choreography: Since you can't be sure about those Oompa-Loompas, this only definitely shows up in "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" and "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen". The former is a Crowd Song; the latter is a solo for Mr. Wonka yet the entire crowd outside the factory serves as backup dancers.
- Stealth Insult: During "Strike That, Reverse It", Willy Wonka has the following to say about members of the tour group:
- "To lead our group, Augustus Gloop!/For who could lose sight of 'im?"
- Regarding Violet: "She's certainly something, Mr. Beauregarde. I'm just not sure what."
- Stepford Smiler: Mrs. Teavee is Type A (inwardly depressed).Medication sets us free
One for him and two for me
And at six I pour a shot of "Mommy Water"
- Storybook Opening: "Creation Overture" started this way (the book a large purple one with a golden W emblazoned on its cover), with its narrator intoning "This is a story about the most important thing in the world: Chocolate."
- Stunned Silence: Grandpa Joe is amazed into this when Charlie shows him the Golden Ticket, unable to speak for several seconds at least.
- Suburbia: The Teavees live here — when Cherry reports from the press conference at their house, she even says "Jerry, I'm in suburbia."
- They Just Dont Get It: The adults' inability to understand Mr. Wonka's simple explanation for the existence of the Chocolate Room ("It's my creation.") causes him to sadly say "You really don't see, do you?", leading into "Simply Second Nature", which goes into detail about his motivation.
- Those Two Guys: Jerry and Cherry in Act One. (Their actors double as the Lovebird Couple too.)
- Trickster Mentor: Willy Wonka to a level that rivals, if not surpasses, his 1971 counterpart. He loves speaking in riddles and confusing the tour group, the Laser-Guided Karma is more dangerous, and the final Secret Test requires an order of his to be disobeyed. Possibly justified — "Simply Second Nature" has him admitting to Hearing Voices, suggesting that he may be mentally off-kilter.
- Triumphant Reprise: The "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" finale; also a Wham Song.
- Two Act Structure: Parallel, with Act Two wackier than Act One. Act One is set in the "real" world and follows the Golden Ticket contest, with Charlie by far the nicest yet worst-off of the finders. Act Two is set in The Wonderland, where Laser-Guided Karma prevails: Charlie gets a Happily Ever After while the others...well...The tonal shift — from light to dark and wildly whimsical — comes in "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen".
- Unconfessed Unemployment: In this version Mr. Bucket loses his toothpaste factory job a week before the action starts. He and his wife mutually keep it a secret from Charlie and the grandparents — he leaves and returns to the shack at the same times he always did, but is looking for work in the interim. They are forced to reveal the truth when the Golden Ticket contest is announced and must break the news to Charlie that they won't be able to afford his usual birthday bar of chocolate (so Grandpa Joe decides to give up what little change he's saved to make sure he gets it).
- Utopia Justifies the Means: In this adaptation, the Crapsaccharine World / False Utopia that is the Wonka factory hits this trope — granted, with an Anti-Hero in charge and jerks as the victims. While Mr. Wonka gives token warnings to the children, the factory and its workers tend to take out those outsiders who dare to mess with their productivity! He's not kidding when he sings "Beyond this waltz/Is a world without faults". Any faults are permanently eliminated!
- The Villain Sucks Song: The Oompa-Loompas all make fun of the kids, calling Augustus fat, Violet talentless, and Veruca a cow. They're straighter examples than the songs in the book: all specifically about the nasty children, and full of insults.
- Weird Moon: An enormous full moon looms over the dump and the nearby Bucket residence...with the distant but similarly gigantic Wonka Factory in silhouette before it. This image is echoed from a different perspective with the Imagining Room, the topmost room of the factory, looking down upon the full moon-silhouetted town.
- Welcoming Song: "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen".
- The World Is Just Awesome: "Pure Imagination" plays out this way — via the Great Glass Elevator, Willy Wonka takes Charlie on a journey up into the sky to get a proper perspective on both the factory he's won and the wonders those who use their imagination can create.
- World of Ham: Charlie and his parents are the only characters who don't ham it up at some point (though Charlie's fantasy of being a king in "Almost Nearly Perfect" suggests he has hamming potential). But as his entrance at the end of Act One proves, Willy Wonka is the biggest ham of all.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Mr. Salt claims his workers unwrapped Wonka Bars "For forty days and forty nights" in "When Veruca Says", but the contest was only announced the day before her ticket was found. Violet's record-breaking gum chewing stint is half a year according to "The Double Bubble Duchess", but 3+ years in "Strike That, Reverse It"'s dialogue. In real life these mistakes might owe to different writers for the book and lyrics — although these could arguably be explained, to a degree. Mr. Salt's proclamation of "For forty days and forty nights" could be his way of letting the press know the sort of lengths he would go to in order to please his daughter, and Violet's gum-chewing record being more than three years could just be her and/or her father playing up her dubious "talent".
- The X of Y: "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka" (Titled "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" on the soundtrack) and The Department of the Future.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Charlie worries that he can't take over the factory because he has no candymaking experience. Mr. Wonka explains in "A Little Me" that being inexperienced means he's capable of learning and becoming a unique talent; moreover, he's "not just any careless child", but bright, imaginative, kind, unspoiled, and disciplined, "So aren't you glad upon review/That Charlie Bucket I chose you!"
- You Are Fat: This is an adaptation that forces Augustus to put up with this, as the Oompa-Loompas' The Villain Sucks Song about him is performed while he's struggling in the pipe ("To the mixing room he rises/Hope that pipe can take all sizes") rather than afterward. See also Stealth Insult above.
- Your Favorite: Charlie's favorite variety of Wonka Bar is the Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight, and his family makes sure that's what he gets for his birthday. Mr. Wonka also made sure that the last Golden Ticket was inside one so Charlie would find it.
"Do come in."