Planer plays Charlie’s Grandpa

Reporter: Matthew Amer, first published Fri 11 Jan 2013 11:52
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Former Young One Nigel Planer is to become an old one for the world premiere of new musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, when he plays Grandpa Joe in the Sam Mendes-directed production.

The actor and comedian, who previously created the roles of Pop in We Will Rock You, Amos Hart in Chicago and The Wizard in Wicked for the London stage, will have the chance to put his mark on the loveable grandparent who accompanies Charlie Bucket on his trip around the most fantastical of chocolate factories.

Joining Planer and the previously announced Douglas Hodge, who will take on the role of the mercurial maker of mouthwatering morsels, are fellow Chicago alumnus Jasna Ivir (Mrs Gloop) and fellow former Wicked Wizard Clive Carter (Mr Salt).

Paul J Medford, whose credits include The Lion King and Five Guys Named Moe, joins the cast as Mr Beauregarde, with Iris Roberts, who is soon to appear in the National Theatre's The Captain Of Köpenick, as Mrs Teavee, and musical theatre veteran Myra Sands as Grandma Georgina.

The brand new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's hugely popular tale tells the story of a young boy who finds a golden ticket that gives him the chance to enter the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory. It is the opportunity of a lifetime to explore confectionary heaven, but as he and the other lucky winners stroll through its sugary corridors, all is not as sweet as it seems.

The production, which is directed by former Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Sam Mendes, who recently directed Bond film Skyfall, previews at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane from 18 May before opening on 25 June. It follows another fantastical musical adaptation, Shrek The Musical, which brings its ogr-ific London run to a close on 24 February.