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THEATRE REVIEW: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang/Manchester Palace

It's coming to Liverpool in the summer. Meanwhile Georgina Hague takes a child to the flying car and child-catcher show and loves it

Written by . Published on May 4th 2010.


THEATRE REVIEW: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang/Manchester Palace

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, written by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame, is about a rundown car that two children Jemima and Jeremy Potts fall in love with. This happens after hearing how it had once won the British Grand Prix in the past. They press their father to buy the vehicle.

The car and the set were stars in their own right. The whole wow factor made you feel like you were five again watching Caractacus Potts’ inventions and most importantly witnessing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang rise up into the sky.

Caractacus Potts, their father, tries to sell his hare-brained inventions with disastrous but comical outcomes. Eventually he manages to raise the money for the car which he restores to its former glory with several serious customisations. Along the way the family meet the delightful Truly Scrumptious who the children adore as much as the car.

What the family aren’t aware of is far away in Vulgaria, a Baron has set his heart on this car and sends his spies out to retrieve it.

That's the scene set. You would have to have been living in Vulgaria never to have seen the film or read the book. All the grown-ups know what happens next, about the ghastly Child Catcher and the naughty Baron and Baroness. We know how it all ends. But this is still a great piece of theatre.

The cast fit well with the roles. Darren Bennett playing Caractacus Potts gives a fine performance but is a weak match to his love interest Truly Scrumptious played by Katie Ray who has a spectacular stage presence and a voice that would melt anyone’s heart.

The children who played Jemima and Jeremy, Max Patrick Weitzman and Mia Jenkins, in this performance were outstanding, but Mia was let down by her microphone. It was set to high which meant her voice was sometimes overpowering.

The Baron and the Baroness played by Edward Peel and Kim Ismay were the perfect comedy duo who managed to create adult double entendre without coming across patronising. The kids loved watching them flying over the audience. The kids also loved booing the Child Catcher, Dean Maynard.

The car and the set were stars in their own right. The whole wow factor made you feel like you were five again watching Caractacus Potts’ inventions and most importantly witnessing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang rise up into the sky.

The production is truly magical, a must see for grown ups who want to be whisked back to their childhoods. The production also got the seal of apprroval from my 5 year old companion who told me 20 times how much he was enjoying it.

Rating: 8/10

*Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is at the Manchester Palace Theatre until May 15 and comes to the Liverpool Empire from June 29-July 17.

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Peter Coyle

i wish i had been there…it sounds like something joyous and anarchic...the way the article is…

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Couldn't agree more. This is a super piece. Ken would be proud that not a penny of public money was…

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