Who doesn’t like chocolate?!

The hit musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stops off at the Bristol Hippodrome later this month, from September 20 to October 8. Ahead of the show’s Bristol visit, we caught up with Gareth Snook, who plays Willy Wonka

Were you a fan of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book growing up?

“Bizarrely enough, I came to Roald Dahl’s work later in life having not grown up with it. As an adult I can appreciate the intricacies of his work but wish I had come to his world of imagination much earlier, it really is fabulous.”

Many people will have their own interpretation of Willy Wonka, from having read the books to seeing the films. How have you put your own spin on him?
“I watched the films when they came out and I’ve revisited them again for research purposes, but because I came to the book late it offered me the opportunity to have an open mind with my interpretation. Wonka is a mercurial character. He’s everything you want him to be, which is great fun to play, despite his cynicism and how sinister he is at times. You might say he’s as layered as a gobstopper.”

What character were you most like when you were younger?

“Wonka, of course. You only have to talk to our director James Brining, who said, ‘I don’t know where Wonka starts and you end.’ I do have a strange affinity with the character. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing! He’s a complex character, but I do understand his frustrations and disappointments.”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published in 1964. Why do you think the magic of this story had stood the test of time?

“All of the characters, from Wonka to Charlie and all the children, have been written so vividly that they’re enticing. They all come from such different backgrounds so kids can relate to them and their families. Although they are all in some ways spoilt and excessive, and are allowed to be by their parents, kids can relate to this and find the enjoyment in it, especially when they get their just desserts. The story really has got everything… and who doesn’t like chocolate?!”

What do you hope audiences take away from this new production?

“I hope audiences leave with a tear in the eye and a big smile on their face. I think the production is very moving, especially towards the end, and it is also great fun. I’d love to sit out and watch it myself.”