London's best children's theatre
After a classier alternative to TV time? Get the kids hooked on culture with a visit to one of these great family-friendly shows
Kids' theatre doesn't start and finish with panto, you know. In fact, between puppetry, audience participation and amazing music, some of London's children's theatre is more innovative and exciting than the grown-up stuff. Not sure what to book? Read on for the Time Out theatre team's pick of London's very best theatre shows for kids.
- Rated as: 4/5
- Critics choice
‘Skyfall’ director Sam Mendes’s huge new Warner Brothers musical confirms it: the hottest property in the West End right now is a grouchy, dead half-Norwegian, who loathed show-offs and spent most of his working life hiding out in a shed at the bottom of his garden. Roald Dahl probably wouldn’t have liked the whiz-popping rave that Mendes has created from his addictive kids’ book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ – because he felt it was Charlie’s story, and any adaptation inevitably becomes the Willy Wonka show. But what a show this is: a deliciously twisted anti-talent contest in which young Charlie finds a golden ticket and enters the factory of mysterious confectioner, Wonka, to battle four revoltingly spoiled brats for a lifetime’s supply of chocolate. Thanks to David Greig’s wicked script and preposterously talented child leads, Charlie’s rivals are updated brilliantly for our look-at-me generation: gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde now comes complete with rap and entourage. But, unlike the RSC kid-focused hit ‘Matilda’, our young hero fades into the background and it’s a relief when all the scenes showing what a nice lad he is are out of the way. Designer Mark Thompson has raised the bar on what kind of world it's possible to create on a stage, given colossal ingenuity (and a multimillion pound budget). And real fun starts when the giant gates of Wonka’s factory open, revealing gadgets, candy-bright edible landscapes and imminent danger of death by chocolate. In a maste
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