Saturday, 27 August 2016

I've Got My Ticket... Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - The Musical

Just the mention of this extraordinary movie and I break into the song. It really can’t be helped when the featured lyrics are so snappy that not singing along would be incredibly difficult, even if you wouldn’t exactly call yourself a fan of them.

The accompanying melodies are what push the film way above a magnificent rating. Although it might shock me to be informed if people my age hadn’t seen the 1968 release which was initially a book, the title theme tune must at least ring a bell for them.

When it comes to musicals there has always been three that I have wanted to catch live on stage – this being one of them. I was in high spirits after the announcement that the UK tour would be making a stop at a nearby theatre. Shortly after my entry passes were confirmed, and I was raring to go…

Show Name: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - The Musical
Venue: The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Performance Dates: Wednesday 24th July – Saturday 3rd September 2016
Starring: Lee Mead, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Andy Hockley, Claire Sweeney, Matt Gillett
Musical Director: Andrew Hilton

Brief Information:
Established from the novel written by Ian Flemming, this adventure starts out on British turf. Caractacus Potts is a struggling inventor with the wackiest of ideas and whose father is far from boring either. Both of these enthusiastic personalities live with the younger of the two’s pair of children, Jeremy and Jermima. Given their money circumstances the family is still, overall a happy one indeed. However, when the brother and sister find a non-functioning Grand Prix car that they would like as a toy, their dad scrapes together all that he can to purchase the vehicle.

After a fair amount of mechanical tweaking the vehicle begins to demonstrate some unusual behaviour (and eventually takes to the air to fly). The important character of Miss Truly Scrumptious has some motor issues of her own, but in the form of a bike. Caractacus offers to take a look, except instead of a 'thank you' and 'you're welcome', multiple disagreements are what follow. Still, this doesn't stop his children’s from asking her to join them on their picnic outing to the beach. When all goes well, she accepts to a repeat of this plan for the very next day, prompting an unpredicted romance between Truly and their dad, Caractacus.

When word gets around about the astonishing car that was once thought of as useless, a lot of attention is gained and a scheme is made to steal Chitty. If this wasn’t enough drama, then a false identity kidnapping, an encounter with a buffoon controller and plenty more are sure to hold your attention.

My Opinion:

Who could ever live up to the outstanding performance of the lead actor, Dick Van Dyke, in the original film? Lee Mead (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) had big shoes to fill, as did Carrie Hope Fletcher (Les Misérables), of whom I didn’t expect to be selected for the head female role, being that she appears slightly younger than twenty-three. Nonetheless, my concerns were soon whisked away by the stellar performances on both parts. You also couldn’t fault what great energy TV actress Claire Sweeney (Brookside) had as Baroness Bomburst and the whole cast too.

What did you like?
I was curious as to how Chitty was going to be presented to an audience on a platform, however the production team managed to pull it off without this appearing overly pretended. All of the songs of course! The ‘Toot Sweets’ scene was a standout moment for me, probably because I get wrapped up in it whenever this segment is on my electronic screen. Even though I was aware that Carrie possessed an amazing set of lungs from watching her Youtube channel, it was wonderful actually acknowledging this in the flesh.

A mention of the duo who played the two spies and the wonderful Andy Hockley (Grandpa Potts) I feel is a must. Whilst all three had me laughing a fair bit, I was also very impressed by the acting of the main child stars.

What would you change?
I wouldn’t make any adjustments to the show. It was just a teeny bit disappointing afterwards having to return to a normal mode of transport, which will forever have to travel on the road by its four wheels and nothing else.
My star rating out of five:

Find out more about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - The Musical, including ticket prices and performance times:
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