Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is Delightful

CCBB_ David Hobson and cast

The musical ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ opened at the Crown Theatre on Friday night and it’s is a delightfully fun family focused evening of entertainment.

Unlikely many musicals from the 1960’s which were stage hits before they became films, this stage version didn’t arrive until 2002, it’s a stage show based on the film written by Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes, which was based on the book penned by James Bond scribe Ian Flemming. The link to James Bond is an odd one because the only connections between the two is Flemming’s authorship and some amazing inventions being central to the story.

The story follows inventor Caractcus Potts and his children Jeremy and Jemima. Professor Potts has a mountain of different inventions and after making some money with one of them, he’s able to restore the broken racing car that his children love to play on. Naming the car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang after the sound it makes, Caractcus and the kids head to the beach picking up love interest Truly Scumptious along the way. When two spies from the evil land of Vulgaria attack them, it turns out the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang can float and even fly.

In the second half of the show it really takes off as the spies kidnap the kids grandfather by accident and they all head off to Vulgaria. In Vulgaria we meet the toy obsessed Baron and his demanding Baroness. As the Baroness can’t stand children the evil Child Catcher roams the streets looking for children to lock away.

The songs in the show were written by the Sherman Brothers, who also wrote the tunes for Mary Poppins. Unlike that show though, there aren’t two many memorable tunes, but the title track will more than make up for it, the catchy ‘Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ is likely to be stuck in your head for many days.

What this show does have though is fabulous sets, and great performances, opera star David Hobson is great as Caractcus Potts and Rachel Beck proves why she’s one of our leading musical theatre artists as Truly Truly Scrumptious. Veteran actor Peter Carroll looks like he’s having the time of his life as Grandpa Potts, and Shane Bourne totally inhabits his part as the Baron Blomburst of Vulgaria.

When this show first came out, a great deal of it’s ‘wow’ factor was of course the flying car, but given the helicopter landing in ‘Miss Saigon’, the witch taking flight in ‘Wicked’ and the nanny with the umbrella flying off over the audiences heads in ‘Mary Poppins’ – the moment is a bit of an anti-climax in 2013.

When you go see this show make sure you take a child with you – it’ll be worth it.

‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ is playing at the Crown Theatre until Sunday 6th October. Tickets are available from Ticketek. Take a sneak peek of the show in the video below.

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