Saturday, 18 June 2016

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang UK Tour Review | LittleEllieMae

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a show that many have grown up with. It is particularly special to me as it was the first musical I saw back in 2003 at The London Palladium. At only six years old, I remember being totally blown away by the magic of the show and it was obviously what kick-started my complete love for musical theatre. It was also my very first experience of going backstage at the theatre; I clearly remember the chaperone showing us the car and convincing my sister and I that it was pure magic. So fast- forward twelve years later, and I was just as excited to re-live my childhood for an evening. 

Six year old me, backstage at The London Palladium
The plot line is by no means a favourite of mine [gets car, car flies, car is stolen, gets car back]. The subplot set in 'Vulgaria'. following the characters of wanna-be villains Baron and Baroness Bomburst has always come across a little tiresome for me, even in the classic 1968 film featuring Dick Van Dyke. However this touring production has definitely attempted to liven this up a bit by including new sections such as a colourful salsa routine in Act 2. Although totally superfluous to the plot, the routine was magnificently done and ended up being one of my favourite scenes of the whole show! The ensemble are truly amazing in this show- it wouldn't be what it is without them. They provide the perfect backdrop of harmonious sound to the classic Sherman Brothers' score as well as some of the most slick, professional dancing of an ensemble I've seen in a while. Taking on multiple personas throughout, the ensemble provide the show with ongoing energy and enthusiasm it needs to keep it afloat. 

Lee Mead takes on the role of Caracatus Potts, providing a heart-felt and touching performance as single-father of Jeremy and Jemima. He doesn't convey the fun-filled, silly character like Dick Van Dyke that I'm such a fan of from the film, but there is no doubt that he shows a different, softer side of the character. As he describes himself as "not a dancer", his performance in 'Me Ol Bamboo' is very impressive. His interaction with the children in the show seems very genuine, making him a very good leading man in his father role. 

Carrie Hope Fletcher portrays the out-spoken yet frightfully pleasant character of Truly Scrumptious, Potts' love interest and acting mother figure to the children in the show. I've been a fan of Carrie's after watching her in Les Miserables, and my admiration for her has grown even more so after seeing her as Truly. Its as if she were made for this role. Even though its been only a few weeks into her first tour, she takes on the character with confidence and passion. Her vocals are undoubtedly the strongest in the show and her performances of Doll On A Music Box/ Truly Scrumptious gave me goosebumps. She is full of grace, charm and completely lights up the stage.

Other notable performances include Scott Paige and Sam Harrison who play the hilarious spies, Goran and Boris. They provide genius humour throughout the show; It is their perfect comedic timing as well as impressive movement and vocals that make their performances really stand- out (not to mention their array of absolutely fantastic 'under-cover' costumes). Full of camp, tounge- in- cheek gags, they had me beaming all through the show. 

Matt Gillett creates the character of everybody's nightmare: The Childcatcher. Despite majorly creeping me out with his evil laugh, greasy locks and grimacing smile, Matt bought a sense of wicked humour to the stage. I also particularly appreciated Matt's movement as he floated around the space with such flair. 

The set was seemingly simple with lots of wooden backdrops to portray the Potts' home as well as the Baron's castle but light projections added such an exciting aspect to this. From videos of the historical Grand Prix race, moving landscapes and even creepy Childcatcher silhouettes, I thought that the projections were used so well. It was very clever as they were used as a simulation of movement for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang itself. The car is a big part of the show and it is a massively magical spectacle, though it doesn't fly into the audience as the 2003 production did, the available resources were utilised to create an extravaganza all the same. 

The costumes are bright and fun, border-line pantomime-ish, but perfectly suitable for a show like this. 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the perfect show for families of all ages. It will provide magic to last a child's life time and will make all elders feel all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia. Its such a classic show and this tour production did not disappoint with a fantastic company, presenting a massive array of talent both on the stage and in the band pit.

Not to mention, this company have performed FIVE two-day shows in a row whilst in Plymouth, totaling at ten shows in five days. I'm not sure how they've done it, but they've pulled it off so professionally and I applaud them for that.

I most definitely recommend- I give it ★★★★.

Keep an eye out on my blog for an interview to follow with the fabulous Scott Paige (Goran) to give further insight into this great production!

Have you seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang yet? Let me know what you think by commenting below or tweeting me @LittleEllieMae :)

Ellie Mae x

Disclaimer: All opinions and views are my own. Production shots credit to Alastair Muir.


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  3. The salsa section has always been in the stage musical.

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