Review // Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

When Myles was tiny, he really loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We'd watch it together constantly and sing the songs but with little tweaks to make them relevant to us. So when Dick van Dyke sings "Someone to care for, to be there for, I have you two", I would swap you too for Myles and he would sing Becky. It was cute and cheesy and we both loved it. Of course, now Myles is a big lumbering 17 year old so when I jokingly suggested we go to see the touring theatre show, I was pretty taken back that he was up for it! So it was that we found ourselves sitting in a theatre on a Sunday afternoon surrounded by children and singing classic tunes from a 1960s musical.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Tour Review
When the show started, I genuinely got goosebumps. The orchestra started playing the eponymous number and it was beautiful. Everyone started clapping along, except Myles of course, because he's far too cool for that kind of thing! To introduce the history of the car, the stage show opens with a new song and I wasn't too keen on this. I felt the whole first ten minutes were a bit slow and heavy on laying the ground work, rather than just going "there's this car, it used to be a great racing car, it crashed and now it's in a junk yard. Let's get stuck in!" (Why don't I work in theatre, eh?) The little boy in front of me summed it up quite nicely when he loudly shouted "Mummy! You told me this was about a flying car!" This slow start left the second half feeling quite rushed and I noticed some plot holes that could have done with more explanation. 

Because I never read up on the show before I see it, I'm invariably surprised when someone famous pops up. First Paul from S Club 7 in Rocky Horror, then Jessie Wallace in Chicago and this time Jason Manford as Caractacus Potts. He was wonderful- warm, funny and the perfect paternal figure. In fact, I can't think of anybody who could have done a better job (except Dick van Dyke himself, of course!) It doesn't hurt that he has a fantastic voice too. Phill Jupitus and Claire Sweeney were also fantastic as the Baron and Baronness, and Charlotte Wakefield's Truly Scrumptious was lovely. Grandpa, played by Andy Hockley, was  brilliant and incredibly true to the original. I suppose if I were being critical, I'd maybe say he was too much like Lionel Jeffries's original portrayal and didn't really bring much of his own flair to the role. However, as I said, I don't like change so I was perfectly happy with the performance! Both children were sweet without being saccharine and there was an emotional moment at the end as Jason Manford explained it was their last performance. 

Despite the odd new song, neither of which I was a fan of (I'm not a fan of change!), all of the originals were included and choreographed brilliantly. Me Ole Bamboo and Chuchi Face (another Becky-Myles classic!) were highlights, although I was disappointed that the beginning of my favourite song, POSH, was chopped off and I found this lessened the impact of a great song. 

Throughout the whole show, there was a real pantomime atmosphere with clapping along (even some singing along from the adorable old man behind me) and booing the bad guys. There were also plenty of innuendos to keep the adults amused, including a couple that actually made me and Myles gasp at the cheekiness! 

We both had a great time and left in high spirits (until we nearly died at a junction thanks to some idiot speeding through a red light but I digress). Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is showing in Salford and Bristol until February, and although it's a family-friendly show, it's definitely a lot of fun no matter how old you are. 

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3 comments:

  1. I LOVED the film as a child too - until my sister also grew to love it and watched it twice a day for nearly a year. I was able to quote the whole thing!

    I would love to take her to see it, completely forgot it was on stage!

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

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  2. I saw this in Cardiff with Lee Mead and loved it but that awful new song that Sweeney did about samba was torture. I recommend listening to Hadley Fraser singing Hushabye mountain on YouTube swooooon x

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  3. Aww can't beat a bit of nostalgia! ;)

    eleanor
    elleanorwears.com

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