Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Festival Theatre – Til May 26 – 4.5K

Chitty flying Photo Credit Kurt SneddonBy Peter Maddern

One can’t help marvel at how with only a few tweaks, Ian Fleming transformed all of his James Bond trademarks into a delightful show for children and their parents through Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Consider Truly Scrumptious for Pussy Galore, villains from Vulgaria and Spectre and a car with features that would have made ‘Q’ beam as broadly as he did with his Aston Martin.

But all of that is by the by as this story is transformed not only by a sparkling, wondrous and often heart-rending stage show but also by a string of wonderful songs from the Sherman siblings, Richard and Robert. These were the folk who endeared themselves to two generations through their work on Mary Poppins and they certainly took no risks with a new style here, with many of the songs sounding somewhat similar, especially if one closed one’s eyes for a while.

David Hobson and Rachael Beck Photo Jeff Busby CCBB_2441But whatever reservations parents might have about the 1968 film from their childhood, they can all be assured this production will only thrill and delight their children and them.

Much of the fun is dominated by the Vulgarian spies (image below) Goran (George ‘RAA’ Kapiniaris) and Boris (Todd Goddard) and their bosses, Baron Bomburst (Alan Brough) and his Baroness (Jennifer Vuletic) who, in particular, leaves nothing in the way of over the top antics in her stage room .

David Hobson (image left, laying down some lines) dances and sings his way into our affections as Caractacus Potts (his Hushabye Mountain the highlight) and Rachel Beck is simply delightful as Truly Scrumptious (delivering on her most demanding moment in the show during the Doll On A Music Box number.)

George Kapiniaris and Todd Goddard Photo Credit Jeff BusbyThe local children, playing Jeremy and Jemima are as strong in their performances as they also endearing and Tyler Coppin’s Child Catcher is a dark and gangly nasty whose limited stage time nonetheless carries a punch.

But, of course, the truly wow factor is Chitty herself, bought and rescued from the junk heap, restored by Caractacus and then lifted high, up and about against a star lit sky in a manner that brings the first half to a rollicking good conclusion and ensures kids will be waiting anxiously for the second stanza to kick off.

This is a massive, highly professional production with a large stage cast and a 15 piece orchestra led Peter Casey and well done to the Adelaide Festival Centre for taking this risk on bringing this production here. Don’t miss it Adelaide!

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

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