Last week Ian Fleming came to town. On Friday night Britain’s most famous secret agent, James Bond - in the form of Daniel Craig, landed on our shores for the premiere of Skyfall. This was swiftly followed by Saturday night’s premiere of Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Two of Ian Fleming’s grand passions feature prominently in this lovable adaptation of his children’s book. Cars, and what a car she is, and spies, although in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang they are not quite as serious or as violent as his other slightly more famous spy, James Bond.
The film version, starring the endearing Dick Van Dyke has long been a children’s favourite. David Hobson did an admirable job of replicating Van Dyke’s skill on stage, but it has to be said that the real star of this show was the flying, floating, driving ‘fantasmagorical’ car. Children held their breath as they watched the antics of the spectacular Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Rachael Beck played the wholesome Truly Scrumptious to perfection. The anecdote ‘never work with animals and children’ obviously does not apply to this production. On Saturday night the dogs all did what they were supposed to and the children were simply brilliant.
Crowd pleasers were the two spies, played by Todd Goddard and George Kapiniaris, whose entertainment was truly pitched at family fun, much to the amusement of the children in the audience. For the pleasure of those a little more grown up, the lovable Alan Brough (from Spicks and Specks fame) and Jennifer Vuletic play the Baron and Baroness Bomburst with amusing gusto. The number ‘Chu-Chi Face’ was seemingly made for Alan Brough.
The two best numbers just happen to feature the Baron and Baroness. In ‘The Bombie Samba’, the Company joined them as they danced around the stage in a high energy Samba dance. It was one of the highlights.
The theatre was packed full of children clutching their cushions for improved theatre viewing. Even with the late start (8pm) children remained enthralled throughout the performance as they watched the famous car come to life on stage.
A terrific first trip out to the theatre for young children.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently playing at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney.
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