Roald Dahl fans don’t have to wait much longer for the latest reworking of the authors beloved childhood tales. Sam Mendes (in a considerable change of direction from 2012’s Skyfall) will premiere his musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London’s West End in May 2013. Earlier this week, Vogue exclusively revealed some sketches from set and costume designer Mark Thompson. Early impressions suggest that Thompson has bypassed the onscreen adaptions and gone back to basics, taking his costume cues from Dahl’s original text.
Fans of the book will no doubt remember the author’s detailed character descriptions; Wonka’s attire leaves a lasting impression, from that jauntily placed top hat to his preference for purple apparel. The early sketches reveal little about Mr Wonka, but suggest that Charlie and the Bucket family retain their downtrodden poverty through a faded palette, too-short trousers (Charlie) and well-worn layers. According to Thompson, “it’s like fitting together a jigsaw puzzle.”
Vogue suggests that the costumes took over two months to complete and the sketches suggest the overall production will retain the whimsical nostalgia of the original text, although there’s no overriding impression of decade or time period. Also missing from the sketches are the Oompa Loompas. Details about the final production remain under wraps but the designer revealed, “there is a lot of puppetry involved…it’s all about tricks of the eye.”
Thompson has previously won four Olivier Awards and two Critics Circle Awards. He has previously worked on Mama Mia! and One Man, Two Guvnors.