I was fortunate to have the opportunity to check out the show in Sydney before the curtain closes and flies into Melbourne (Her Majesty’s Theatre, January 30) and then Adelaide (April 30).
I saw the film well over 15 years ago – so it was an excellent chance to re-introduce myself to the story in musical form!
So for those who need a refresher (like myself) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the musical is based on the 1968 film of the same name which stars Chitty Chitty Bang Bang an amazing car which does so much more than simply drive thanks to her eccentric inventor, Caractacus Potts (David Hobson). He is a widowed father with 2 children – Jeremy and Jemima. So of course for someone sexy, free and single - Mr Potts has to have a love interest on the scene, in the form of Truly Scrumptious (Rachael Beck).
When the musical did start, I must admit I was a bit underwhelmed with the opening number and the story did seem to start off a bit too slow for my liking – then I realised deep down I am an impatient child who simply wanted to see Chitty do some cool stuff. Like they say patience is a virtue…
The introduction of the ‘bad guys’ consisting of the duo of Vulgarian Spies and my personal favourites, Boris (Todd Goddard) and Goran (George Kapiniaris) – who entertained with their random appearances throughout the show and their Dumb and Dumber partnership which resulted in a brilliant and hilarious contrast to the overly optimistic and sweet Potts family.
So what is their motivation to be bad? they want steal Chitty and take her to the Baron (Alan Borough) and Baroness Bomburst (Jennifer Vuletic) of Vulgaria – a fictional country which resembles Germany. They are very much in love, yet an ultimately crazy couple which also provided hilarity thanks to the Baron’s childish antics, the Baroness’ ability to tame the beast and of course their loving/frisky sweet talk. After the musical, I actually learnt that the Baron was played by Alan Borough of Spicks and Specks!
The Vulgarians lived up to their name, by being the provider of several adult jokes – which was an appreciated wink to those older folk in the audience.
Another member of the Vulgarian crew was the Child Catcher (Tyler Coppin) which proved to be a bit too scary for the very young child nearby who promptly crawled into his mother’s lap during his stint on the stage. On the plus side, he learnt a very good lesson to always listen to your parents/guardians.
Unsurprisingly, the ultimate highlight of the show was seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang itself when it had undergone the Pott’s makeover which well and truly impressed me with it's surprising Transformer-like talents. Before seeing the show, I really had no clue how they could make Chitty fly (or at least give the impression) – but they did it and it was beyond my imagination. It is by far the most spectacular prop I have ever witness in a show and most likely the most expensive.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a musical for all ages – obviously, very family friendly but also for those older (like me) who like a bit of cheese, a lesson to be learnt and of course, enjoy a childhood favourite. While the musical felt like it took awhile to pick up pace, overall I did enjoy the show as how could I not enjoy the company of the Vulgarians and Chitty Chitty but part of me wishes I could have viewed this when I was a kid! Judging by the number of smiles from the kids in the audience – it would be safe to assume they enjoyed it even more than my inner child.
Upcoming Dates (Subject to change, please check here)
Sydney - Capitol Theatre
Now until January 19, 2013
Melbourne – Her Majesty’s Theatre
January 30 to 3 March, 2013 (Subject to change)
Adelaide – Festival Theatre
30 April – 12 May, 2013 (Subject to change)
You can find out more about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the Musical here
I attended Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a media guest.
Images untagged are credited to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.