Whenever I have been fortunate enough to watch a West End production, I have never been preoccupied with the hard-work and effort that goes in to all of the technicalities. However, after watching the first instalment of Channel 4’s new series The Sound of Musicals, I have a new found respect for all involved in these elaborate masterpieces. The show is set to entice theatre lovers nationwide, giving a unique insight into the weird and wonderful ways of the West End.
The first episode saw Academy Award Winner Sam Mendes reimagining Roald Dahl’s children’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Everything from the Oompa Loompas to everlasting gobstoppers had to be envisaged, and Sam seemed well equipped, with his diligent team on hand. In the show, we got to see how a seemingly delectable set was designed; complete with a chocolate waterfall and numerous other edible-looking features. We also witnessed the difficulties in such large scale productions (particularly when trying to operate a floating glass elevator). A nice touch to the show was allowing us to get to know various cast members. The boys who played Charlie were among the youngest in the cast, but that didn’t stop them from being professional and leading the entire show – not many of us would say that we could have done that aged ten. The odd scenes involving the children’s families and other cast members kept us emotionally involved in the show, and the nerves in the build-up to the opening night were certainly palpable. At the end of the episode we were treated to snippets of the eagerly anticipated final production, and I was definitely left yearning for West End tickets.
The series allows a unique window into the cut-throat musical theatre industry, and a new found appreciation for the tireless efforts from those involved.
The Sound of Musicals is next on Tuesday, 9pm on C4
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