MUSICAL REVIEW: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ★★★★

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Bristol Hippodrome
Tuesday 31st January 2017

Back when I was a child, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a classic family fun movie in my household, and one that I would watch on rainy days, but not by myself as The Childcatcher would scare me way too much, though funnily enough I dressed up as the villain for Halloween in 2015. Now in my early 20’s, I look fondly on those days and remember distinctly moments like the beach scene in the movie, or the dreaded moment kidnaps Jeremy and Jemima, and so when It came to watching a theatrical production based on the movie, you can see why I may have been nervous about whether my expectations would be exceeded or deflated, and I can reassure you that it was indeed the former, as when I left the theatre I found my jaw aching from how much I had been smiling and laughing throughout this TRULY eccentric and incredible show!

As this production relies on celebrity casting for the main adult cast, throughout this run of 18 months on tour many stars have stepped into the shoes of Caractacus Potts, originally starting with Lee Mead at the beginning of the run and now into Jason Manford, to whom I saw in The Producers back in Birmingham, and suited the role immensely! The chemistry he shared on stage with Charlotte Wakefield also as the beautifully love and likeable Truly Scrumptious was so genuine that I really felt the spark between these two incredible talents on stage, but for me the star of the show redoubtable Chitty herself! After the brilliant performance from Andy Hockley in the number ‘Posh’ as Grandpa Potts, where throughout the number we see Caractacus constantly come and go from the garage with different tools for creating Chitty, she is finally revealed at the end of the song and start away we see the Potts family, soon joined by Truly on their travels, to the beach.

My favourite thing about this production that will stick with me for many years to come whenever someone mentions the show, and something that I haven’t seen done this incredibly well in a production for a very long time, is the projection in the show, which I cannot describe how powerful it was towards the production, so much that I nearly teared up when it came to Hushabye Mountain, sung by Caractacus, when projected onto the backdrop was the starry night sky, and below on the ground the waves of the ocean were running smoothly as the children were falling asleep on the boat contraption on the floor. I can also say that the hairs all over my body stood up drastically at the end of the first act when Chitty flew for the first time up into the air and down below, especially as the Act One Finale song really slowed down and everyone on stage sang like a powerhouse, bringing the first act down in humongous style!

Lastly the comedy elements in this production were classic, and all made so due to the brilliant talents from Sam Harrison and Scott Page as Boris and Goran respectfully! Their song in the first act, ‘Act English’, was so quintessentially British and it was filled with all things associated with our culture as the two vulgarian spies learnt everything about the British through their ‘Top Secret British Disguise Box’ with everything related to the British, from sporting gear to references about cups of tea, which made me laugh a lot!

Overall, anyone who is a fan of the film will love this incredibly powerful and brilliant theatrical adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as it is filled with laugh-a-minute gags and such lovable characters that we will always remember from our memories from this heartwarming family that we have known to grow and love, and will ultimately be blown away from Chitty herself, who steals the show and so rightly so!


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