Last night we had a family night at New Theatre to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – a stage show I’ve been so incredibly desperate to see! I couldn’t wait to see how Orbit Theatre would transfer the story to stage, and George was really interested in seeing how they’d move the car and make it fly.
You should already know the story of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and if you don’t I don’t think we can be friends… Joking! Kind of… Anyway, the story goes a little like this…
Caractacus Potts has two very adorable children, who are desperate for him to buy an old car (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). In a twist of fate he manages to buy the car and fix it up, ready for adventuring as a family. At the same time Caractacus and his children have recently met a young lady called Truly, who (at first) clashes with Caractacus. When they’re is hunted down by Vulgarian spies and they kidnap Grandpa Potts, Chitty surprises the family by flying across the ocean to save him!
The story is beautifully told through music, dance and dialogue, with a performance from a large and confident cast. The stage is set with simple backdrops and props, but then there’s Chitty; the most gorgeous replica of the flying car from the movie – what a beauty! The costumes are amazing, with an array of scenes developed through their textures and colour, I particularly adored the circus themed elements and the Vulgarian scenes.
The cast was incredibly well rehearsed, and the two young children were absolutely fantastic upon the stage. I really loved their confidence, yet they still managed to retain a sense of pure sweetness and innocence. Their interactions with each other and the rest of the cast were seamless and natural, and it felt as though they were a real little family.
Lewis Cook performed as Caractacus Potts, and although he was confident and well voiced, I sometimes felt his version of Caractacus was a little rushed and it lacked the charm of the movie we all know and love. Perhaps it’s one of those things where no actor, no matter their presence or performance on stage, can fill the shoes of a performer such as Dick Van Dyke…
Nevertheless he performed confidently and I loved his relationship with the two children as well the birthday scene with Truly, the moment you know they’re completely in love.
Also, for some reason I truly believed Caractacus had a cockney accent (blame the sunstroke!), but I stand corrected!
Warren really loved Grandpa Potts, performed by Bruno Cook, and I have to admit he was incredibly funny and lovable as he performed on the stage. Spies Boris (Fran Hudd) and Goran (Daniel Ivor Jones) were also pretty awesome upon the stage, with lots of clever one-liners and a performance that made everyone in the audience giggle!
Baron Bomburst (Matt Preece) and Baroness Bomburst (Laura Phillips) were outstanding, with so many hilarious moments, fantastic interactions with one another, and a voice that I’ll never forget from Phillips; she truly owned that role alongside Preece.
The childcatcher was as creepy as ever, with an awesome costume and uncanny likeness. I couldn’t get enough of him! I wasn’t quite so enamoured with the Toy Maker, but much like Caractacus, it’s hard to emulate the likes of Dick Van Dyke and Benny Hill!
For me and those around me, it’s clear that Truly Scrumptious (performed by Hannah Rix) stole the show last night. From her voice, to her presence on stage, she oozed the very essence of Truly. Rix’s voice is beyond beautiful, and several times she caused me to shed a tear (in a good way!). I can’t tell you how much she amazed us all, and I’m still absolutely in awe of her performance; she was elegant, sweet and incredibly well voiced. I really felt like I’d stepped into the movie itself each time she stepped on stage.
Chitty Chitty bang Bang is a gorgeous production, full of humour, song and so much sentiment. It is truly scrumptious, and you need to book tickets now!