Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is up there with the likes of Sound of Music and Mary Poppins as “shows you must have watched at the age of 8/any time it’s shown on the TV over Christmas or Bank Holiday weekend!” With this in mind, consider me ashamed to admit that even though I could burst into a perfectly impressive rendition of the infamous song (you know the one) I’ve never actually seen the film version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! As such I went along to the opening night of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang musical at the Regent Theatre in Stoke full of expectation.
The stage version of the iconic 1968 British film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang features a celebrity packed cast (more on that later!), has been massively hyped and fans of the show have rushed to buy tickets to grab a glimpse of the flying car in technicolour action! The much-loved songs by the Sherman Brothers and the sensational sets coupled with stunning special effects make for an entertaining experience for fans of the show.
The show manages to capture the charming feel of films of the era through its colourful costumes and the innovative video designs from Simon Wainwright to graphically recreate numerous scenes throughout the show against a simplistic set design. The high sea escape is a particular highlight, as is the tender moment shared between widowed father Caractacus Potts (Jason Manford) and the Potts children (Henry Kent and Lucy Sherman) during the performance of Lullaby Bay.
Jason Manford delivers a comical and endearing performance as the shows lead character, whacky inventor Caractacus Potts, if you thought Mr Manford’s talents stopped at the ability to make you laugh until yoursides hurt then you’ll be pleasently surprised by his performance. Sam Harrison and Scott Page as Boris and Gorgan add a touch of the pantomime baddy to the show as hysterical Vulgarian spies who plot to kidnap much loved Chitty for Baron and Baroness Bomburst (Phil Jupitus and Michelle Collins). The role of the villainous and character most synonymous to Chitty (aside from Chitty itself, of course) The Childcatcher is played by Martin Kemp and coupled with the previously mentioned video designs, his scenes are really quite sinister and left the children in the audience boo-ing as they would any love to hate villain.
What this touring version of Chitty taps into is the message at the heart of the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang book from Ian Fleming. A tale of an airborne car is not only a gimmick (albeit a magnificient one!), it also signifies the sorts of dreams that come true if you work hard enough. Remember, team work can make a dream work.
If you’re a fan of the film and haven’t picked up a ticket yet, I recommend you head to do so Toot Sweets. The show runs at the Regent Theatre in Stoke until Saturday 9th April! Tickets are available to buy online or via the Box Office!