Reviewed; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I grew up watching musicals at my grandparent’s house, and have fond memories of watching Dick Van Dyke whistle on his Toot Sweets, although I don’t think I will be alone in saying I did get a little scared of the child-catcher! In hoping no underlying childhood trauma surfaces I bravely stepped into the theatre to immerse myself in a feeling of nostalgia as I settle in to enjoy the well loved story of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

If this story is new to you; inventor Caractacus Potts restores a broken-down old racing car with the help of his children Jemima and Jeremy. Soon the family discover the car has magical powers, and along with the delectable Truly Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts, they end up on a fantastical adventure to far off lands.

This show is more than spectacular, it is a wonderfully quirky production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which filled the theatre with pure joy and laughter from start to finish. They embraced the heart of the story, staying true to the classic, whilst adding extra flairs and comedy throughout. There is something for all ages, with children delighting in the magic they create on stage, then thrown in the mix is plenty of humour and innuendos to keep the adults amused.

The beauty of this show is the feeling it creates within, witnessing the love and hope of a family trying to muddle through despite the sadness of loss in their past is inspiring. Then it takes you out of this world into a dream like experience as you watch the iconic car come to life, bringing magic into their lives. The way in which they staged Chitty was stunning, making it fly around the stage as we stared in wonder, with beautiful lighting effects to ensure we were all completely spellbound.

Adam Garcia took the stage with ease as Caractacus Potts, giving us a loveable, hard working, and slightly unconventional father who is trying to do his best for his kids. He stole the show with renditions of the classics, including ‘Me ‘Ol Bam-Boo’ which was one of my favourite routines of the show with it’s complex dance moves interwoven with humour. I also found myself mesmerised as he sang ‘Hushabye Mountain’, with his smooth tones lulling me into a tranquil trance like state.

The Potts children, Jeremy and Jemima, were played by the talented, Ayrton English and Jasmine Nyenya, bringing the innocence and hope of youth to the stage. They create young endearing characters, who help us expand our imaginations and see the magic in the world.

I was simply stunned by the beautiful tones of Ellie Nunn’s voice, playing Truly Scrumptious. She embodied a warm and nurturing character bringing light into the Potts family. Her enactment of ‘Girl On The Music Box’ was enchanting, managing to move in a distinctly doll like style creating a stunning and captivating moment.

Charlie Brooks captured the essence of the sinister Childcatcher, filling the stage with the dark presence of the role. With her quirky movements and style of singing she sniffed out the children striking fear in the heart, even as an adult I couldn’t help but let out a little cheer of relief when she was imprisoned!

Martin Callaghan and Jenny Gayner were a perfect comedy pairing, playing the eccentric Baron and Baroness, they vibed off each other and had the audience in streams of laughter with their suggestive jokes and over-the-top personalities, creating baddies that you couldn’t help but like! Adam Stafford and Michael Joseph were also perfectly matched as a comedy duo, regaling the audiences with jokes and quips weaved throughout the show.

A night spent at this show is a truly scrumptious treat, there was just so much fun and laughter in this production you come away feeling lighter and uplifted. I encourage you to book your tickets while you can, it is playing at Mayflower Theatre until 12th May.

Words by Vicky Anscombe

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