Matthew Hardy – Willy Wonka Explained: The Veruca Salt Sessions.

4 stars


Julie Dawn Cole is in the psychiatrist’s chair.  Her complaint?  Being endlessly associated with the character she played in a cult film 40 years ago – the brilliantly spoilt Veruca Salt.  On the other side of the world an Australian man also attends weekly sessions with his shrink, sessions which revolve around his enduring obsession with that same character.

This is the concept that allows Cole and Hardy to relate tales from their past and what it means for their present.  Cole looks back on the legacy of being a child star, in the days when being famous at a young age unfortunately didn’t mean millions of dollars in the bank.  What has playing Veruca brought her?  A face that’s recognisable but not famous, a number of failed relationships and some rather odd fans.  Meanwhile, Hardy looks at what made Veruca Salt so special to him.  She reminded him of his childhood, of a more innocent period that he turns to time and time again, one which grounds him as he makes his way through the minefield of his adult life.  The observations are witty and amusing and underlined with a sweetness that makes this a surprisingly touching show.

I enjoyed eavesdropping on the Veruca Salt sessions and it never feels like the performers have outstayed their welcome.  I was comfortable simply sitting back and listening intently as the stories unfolded and intertwined.  Even though there were a number of technical glitches on the evening I attended there is no doubt that the show is a lovely piece of comedic theatre.

So grab yourself a ticket, this show really is golden.

Reviewed by Di

Venue – Pleasance Beneath

19.00 – 20.00


2 Responses

  1. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! The most unexpected, uniquely modern, live pop-culture rom-com I could have hoped for. Before the show I was prepared to happily accept some stories from the Wonka film set but this went above and beyond. Very funny, refreshing and fulfilling. I want it now! x

  2. Really? Wow, I must have seen a bad night…wasn’t really funny at all. Charming(ish) in spots, but couldn’t see the point of the AV segments (how hard is it to press ‘play’?)

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