You pretty Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
Kerstin | On 03, Dec 2013
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has flown into Brisbane with a BANG! The musical, which opened on November 19 and will run until December 22, is a terrific romp of a production filled with musical delights and laughs-a-plenty. It is true that going to the theatre is expensive these days; few productions are worth the price of tickets, parking and the obligatory intermission packet of pretzels. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of those few.
Based on the book by Bond author Ian Flemming, the musical is a whimsical tale of family and perseverance. Jeremy and Jemima Potts spend their days playing in the local mechanicâ€™s yard under the watchful eye of their inventor father, Caractacus Potts. The two children live in a make-believe world of fast cars and Grand Prix victory; the family is poor but happy.
When news comes that the childrenâ€™s much-loved car has been sold for scrap, Caractacus sets out to restore Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to her former glory. But the Potts are not the only ones with their eyes on the prize. Having heard of the carâ€™s illustrious racing pedigree, the vulgar Baron and Baroness of Vulgaria decide they want to take Chitty Chitty for themselves. It isnâ€™t long before the Potts (and the lovely Ms Scrumptious) find themselves of an adventure not even Jemima and Jeremy could have imagined.
Much has been made of the car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The state-of-the-art prop is said to have cost almost $1.2 million, making it the most expensive theatre piece in history. It is easy to see where the money has been spent. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang speeds across the British countryside, flashes her lights and flies high into the sky. It is all totally believable – so much so you will leave the theatre in amazement wondering â€˜How did they do that?!â€™
The car is joined on-stage by a wonderful cast. Brisbane locals Campbell MacCorquodale and Sophie Moman perform the parts of the Potts children Jemima and Jeremy with incredible enthusiasm; both have very good singing voices. If their talent is anything to go by, one could only expect a similar high standard from the other two youngsters playing the parts, Jayden McGinlay and Emma Cobb. Rachael Beck, who plays love interest Truly Scrumptious is appropriately truly scrumptious. Her voice is both delicate and powerful, her stage presence caring and warm. But the true revelation is David Hobson in the part of Caractacus Potts. So enchanting is he on stage (both his singing and acting ability are faultless), it is difficult to imagine any other actor doing the part justice.
The production is also very funny. Spies Boris and Goran provide much of the comic relief throughout the show, though several clever and surprising sight gags had the audience roaring with laughter throughout the show.
But of course, the true worth of any musical must be judged by its music. Here, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang really delivers. Originally written in 1968 by Robert and Richard Sherman, each song is pitched perfect to provide light and shade throughout the show. Standouts include the immensely hummable Truly Scrumptious and the beautiful Lovely Lonely Man. The latter song is performed to perfection by Ms Beck.
The Sherman brothers also composed the music for Disneyâ€™s Mary Poppins and will shortly be seen on the big screen in the upcoming film, Saving Mr Banks. The tonal similarities between both musicals are difficult to ignore. Me â€˜Ol Bamboo is reminiscent of Step In Time, while Hushabye Mountain mirrors Stay Awake.Â But this is not necessarily problematic. There is a reason both musicals have stood the test of time: the songs are simply singable. Surely, you can never have too much of a good thing?
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a rarity in the theatre these days; a family musical that can truthfully claim to appeal to all ages. Every facet, from its endearing script to the wonderful songs and their equally wonderful performance by the entire cast, has been planned and executed perfectly. It is a great production and one that can be recommended wholeheartedly.
What Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Musical
Where The lyric Theatre, QPAC
When 19 November to 22 December 2013
Cost Tickets from $65