Chitty – We Love You!
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Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Mayflower
Thursday 11th February 2016
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you! The brimming theatre certainly loved Chitty tonight as she zoomed onto the Mayflower stage.
Starring a host of British TV icons, actor and comedian Jason Manford leads the show as the lonely inventor Caractacus Potts. Manford’s comic flare and, admittedly, unexpected singing skills are a joy to watch, as are the scenes with his talented on-stage children Jemima (Lucy Sherman) and Jeremy (Henry Kent).
Amy Griffiths’ Julie Andrews’-esque voice is perfect for her role as Truly Scrumptious, which she demonstrates particularly well during her performance of Doll on a Music Box. Andy Hockley is funny and endearing as Grandpa Potts, getting the audience chuckling at his regular trips to ‘India’ and his reprise of, “Did I ever tell you about the time I-?” “Yes, Grandpa!”
Fellow comedian Phil Jupitus plays the spoiled ‘Vulagrian’ Baron Bomburst, the overgrown man-child who loves toys above all else, to the frustration of the Baroness Bomburst (Michelle Collins). The pair’s over the top mushiness rings true with the 1968 film version.
Martin Kemp completes the celebrity line-up as the dastardly Childcatcher, whose chilling appearance near the end of the first Act is, sadly, not fully realised in Act 2. Nonetheless, his panto-villain style performance has the children in the audience booing delightfully, and it’s pleasant to see a large scale musical production which seemingly has a young audience in mind.
Laugh-out-loud moments are provided throughout the performance, courtesy of the hilarious one-liners and slapstick humour from spy duo Boris and Goran (Sam Harrison and Scott Paige).
Chitty Dancers: Slick, Electric, Wonderfully Adaptable
The ensemble is slick and their energy electric, the dancers wonderfully adaptable as they’re put through their paces performing a tap dancing number (Me Ol’ Bamboo), a fast-paced samba, as well as more traditional musical theatre arrangements.
Chitty’s infectious songs are made complete by Musical Director Andrew Hilton’s energetic live band, the music fitting perfectly alongside clever video graphics that project across the set, helping the audience to feel like we’re all winding along country lanes in Chitty’s red leather seats. The car itself is perfect, her shiny metal bonnet glinting under the lights as she soars off the cliffs at Beachy Head.
This brand new production of Ian Fleming’s classic children’s story has something for everyone and would make a wonderful family night-out. Tickets are going fast so grab yours now and get ready for a trip in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang yourself! But remember, you must say please…
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs at The Mayflower until February 21st.
Star rating 4/5