Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 21 February 2016
I’ve seen a number of versions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang both touring and in the West End so to have this show on my doorstep was quite a treat for me. However, was it as great as I’d remembered it?
This cast launching the tour has had some changes since leaving the Yorkshire Playhouse where the show was resident over Christmas. I believe they have had just three performances together and whilst there were a couple of times that this showed, along with slight technical issues with “Chitty” neither detracted from the enjoyment of the show.
A vibrant start with a very touching scene showing heartbroken Caractacus Potts (Jason Manford) and his two children Jeremy (Henry Kent) and Jemima (Lucy Sherman). Having recently seen Manford in The Producers, this show couldn’t be more different. Showing his lovely singing voice, and perfectly complementing Amy Griffiths’ feisty Truly Scrumptious.
Martin Kemp as the child catcher was the scariest, and most sinister portrayal I have ever seen. A striking Baron and Baroness was given to us in the forms of Phill Jupitus and Michelle Collins. Both were extremely strong, entertaining and some of their scenes were particularly enjoyable. Two favourites were “Chu-Chi Face” and “The Bombie Samba”. Which leads me nicely onto the choreography of Stephen Mear which is clean, crisp, entertaining and lively. A superb addition to the show which is excellently executed by the extremely talented cast.
Of course there is always an element of will the car fly or be perceived as floating on water and it didn’t quite go according to plan last night, but that’s live theatre for you when you are working with some really difficult machinery. The set is clever and I particularly liked the modern graphics for the scenery.
All in all this show has bags of energy, charisma, an excellent cast and is a superb evening out, give it a few more performances and it’ll be raking in those all in important five star reviews. Oh and yes at the end I was booing the child catching Martin Kemp and singing along to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – well there’s a kid in all of us isn’t there? Go to the Mayflower or find your nearest tour date and find yours!
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – The Mayflower until 21st February then Touring
By Caroline Hanks-Farmer