Last sunday I went to Sheffield to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang live on stage. It’s a show I’ve wanted to see ever since I went through a hardcore Dick van Dyke phase – hello! He’s the Harrison Ford of children’s movies! He’s not in the show, of course, but he starred in the 1968-movie, and that was reason enough for me to get into it.
The story is about the inventor Caractacus Potts and his two young children, Jeremy and Jemima, whose super-fast car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (because that’s the sound it makes!), is the object of desire of Vulgaria’s Baron Bomburst. When the Baron kidnaps Granpa Potts the Potts family comes to his rescue, along with the beautiful Truly Srumptious – but arriving in Vulgaria they find out that the Baron and his wife detest children and that Jeremy and Jemima are in great danger of being abducted by the hideous Child Catcher.
I am really not a cars kind of person, but the story just had me. It’s bit like Grease for children. And I’ll admit the first time they started the car and it made this awful sound, my mind went straight into thinking, THAT’S AIR POLLUTION! SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT! But then how could I resist a car that only runs when you say «PLeeeeaaaase!»
Only how you convince a child after seeing the show that the Child Catcher is not real, I shall never know. He seemed pretty convincing to me, and whenever his track comes up on my iPod i press skip. Eergh, everytime I hear him go «Childreeeeen!» I physically shudder.
To say I enjoyed the show is a slight understatement. I absolutely loved it! It’s weird and loud and bright, and oh my, the costumes! Unlike the film, the show is set in a post-World-War-I era, so everything’s a bit more colourful and funky. What I was most impressed with, though, were the child actors. Lucy and Henry, who played the roles of Jemima and Jeremy Potts, were in every way a delight to look at! They played their parts so well and with so much heart. I simply cannot imagine the effort the producers of the show had to put into training these kids – how do you get them to stay concentrated, and how do you prevent them from forgetting their lines in stage fright? They have to act and sing and dance, sometimes everything at once, and yet they didn’t screw up once.
Everytime I watch a live musical I am freshly impressed by the actors. They’re all professionals, so as well I should be of course – but they never cease to amaze me. Lee Mead and Carrie Hope Fletcher make such a wonderful pair with their curly hair and quirkie costumes, and they make it incredibly hard to imagine any other actor taking over the role. Actually, Carrie Fletcher could just change her name to Truly Scrumptious and pull it off. You look at her and think, Hang on – she’s not the candy maker’s daughter?!
This show makes me consider getting my driver’s licence just so I’d be legally allowed to steer a flying car! If you have the chance to see the show, please go watch it! What a happy time you’ll spend! It’s beautifully done, it’s laugh-out-loud funny, and it’s romantic – it’s everthing I need in a stage production; blast it, it’s everything I need in life!
All the pictures featured in this post I downloaded from the musical’s website!