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Roald Dahl's daughters join Hollywood stars for Chocolate Factory's opening night

By • London

Roald Dahl's daughters Ophelia and Lucy were among the star-studded audience at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane last night for the world premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Speaking to WhatsOnStage, Lucy, Dahl's youngest daughter with his actress wife Patricia Neal, said: "I've come over from California and this is my first time seeing the show, so I feel like I'm one of the lucky children waiting for the gates of the Chocolate Factory to open."

PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM

Ophelia Dahl praised the show's director Sam Mendes, who has brought her father's Chocolate Factory to life for the stage. "It's one of the best stories ever and he's one of the best directors ever, so those two things go together well," she said.

"My father never bragged or showed his excitement on the exterior but on the inside I'm sure he would've been chuffed about all this," added Lucy, who revealed that one of her earliest memories was attending the premiere of the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder.

"I have a very vivid memory of a table covered in a mountain of chocolate," she said, a description that could equally have applied to last night's post-show party at the Connaught hotel, where guests gorged themselves on a mountain of pick-n-mix and a multitude of chocolate fountains.

Others enjoying the hospitality last night included comedian Bill Bailey (pictured with son Dax), who revealed he'd "love to have a crack" at the role of Willy Wonka, played by Douglas Hodge. "I spent today recording a talking book of one of Roald Dahl's novels, so I'm having a massive Dahl day," Bailey added.

Designer Mark Thompson said the process of creating the show was "like a puzzle".

"The biggest challenge was probably trying to make some sort of sense of each room so that it was witty without just being scenery, and to make it a cohesive whole. In a way the solution has been to be relatively old fashioned."

The cast - led by Hodge, Nigel Planer (as Grandpa Joe) and Jack Costello (as Charlie Bucket), received a rousing standing ovation at the curtain call, and were joined on stage by director Mendes alongside book writer David Greig and songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Other stars in attendance included Hollywood A-listers Uma Thurman, Sarah Jessica Parker and husband Matthew Broderick, as well as Graham Norton, Tamsin Greig, Summer Strallen, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Barbara Windsor, Jessica Raine and Glee's Matthew Morrison.

See also: Michael Coveney's first night review and our interview with book writer David Greig

Tags: Charlie and the Chocolate FactorySam MendesRoald DahlPhotosBill Bailey


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