ROALD Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate factory (written in 1964) has been savaged by sensitivity readers, who are keen to suggest there is no place for the likes of the Oompa-Loompas in the minds of today’s children.

Dahl’s setting up slavery within the chocolate factory – the Oompa-Loompas were paid in cocoa beans – was most certainly a metaphor for the Caribbean immigration into the UK at the time.

But Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in its newly produced musical theatre form, with a script by David Greig, has been reformed perfectly for young hearts and minds.

And in our present world of foodbanks and crushing child poverty, shouldn’t little people be introduced to the concepts of hard work and the need to take care of others less fortunate – all within the wonderful space that theatre can provide?

The story follows the life of Charlie, only child of the impoverished Bucket family. Charlie, we learn, is a hopeful inventor, keen to save the world and make sure he and his family don’t have to force down another bowl of horrid cabbage soup.

Charlie’s big chance appears when he hears of a competition to visit the enchanting factory of the mysterious chocolatier.

But there are only five tickets made available. And we learn that the first four are going to four little grabbers; imagine the X Factor where the hopefuls are all tiny toffs who excel in arrogance.

Will little Charlie, all sweetness and screaming decency, have the chance to enter – and take over – the factory? The stakes are increased when we discover that Grandpa Joe gives up the savings he’d put aside for his funeral to give his grandson another opportunity.

Of course, Charlie does make it inside the gates of this chocolate wonderland, and meets the weird and wonderful eccentric inventor Mr Wonka, part benefactor, part unapologetic capitalist.

And great fun is to be had. The musical is not packed to the gods, however, with Dahl’s mordant social satire. Instead it features his clever wordplay, mischievous horror and eccentric humour, rising above the need to preach.

For those parents who have seen the Johnny Depp film of 2005, forget all that fey creepiness that seems to be the actor’s default position.

Instead, Gareth Snook’s performance in the Wonka role somehow manages to combine the lightness and creamy comedy of Gene Wilder with just the right amount of darkness.

And the overall tale is one of hope. If critics have had an issue with the production, it’s the use of giant video projections to create the magical world of act two, with screens replacing “the rough magic of theatricality”.

But will the children in the audience notice? No. Nor will they even consider comparing Dahl’s original representation, which recognised slavery and capitalism as co-existing within the factory – making modern capitalism possible – because the Oompa-Loompas are now robots. And they’ll be too busy hoping Charlie lands the golden ticket, that everyone gets to eat as much chocolate as their gums can contain. And gorging on a world of pure imagination.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Edinburgh Playhouse, March 29-April 15

Few could argue that Alan Cumming is a shy introvert, reluctant to lift the curtain on his own life, or to offer an opinion. Yet, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be applauded for being prepared to give of his time to talk about his rainbow-coloured life and times in a special Perth Theatre event.

The actor, who recorded the audio book of Louise Welsh’s award-winning novel The Second Cut, will share a conversation with that author about various topics including theatre, his various roles and personal insights from his new book Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life.”

According to a spokesperson “This is an exclusive opportunity to discover why Time Magazine called Alan Cumming ‘one of the three most fun people in showbusiness’.” Cumming is patron of Scottish Youth Theatre and an ambassador for the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), an organisation committed to education and empowerment for LGBTQ youth.

HeraldScotland: Alan CummingAlan Cumming (Image: Francis Hills)

The actor, who toured recently with his Robert Burns tribute show, Burn, is delighted to be appearing in support of Perth Theatre’s community outreach projects for young people.

Louise Welsh is the author of nine novels including The Cutting Room and The Plague and has announced she will be discussing returning to her protagonist, Rilke, 20 years after his first appearance in The Cutting Room. “I am very excited about meeting Alan, whose work I have been a fan of even before The High Life (I have the entire series on DVD),” she has said.

“Alan is an actor of incredible range who is able to give life to multiple genres – a Hollywood actor who still knows how to plant his feet and accents on Scottish soil.”

In Conversation with Alan Cumming and Louise Welsh, May 12, 3-4pm, £45.