The musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is full of all the fun and magic you'd expect, if you've ever seen the 1968 film version of Ian Fleming's story. After receiving excellent reviews at the London Palladium for four years, and Broadway for one, the show is now on tour. It is in Singapore now (one season only), and will be here for another week or so.
The highlight of the show is the fantastic special effects. I usually am more captured by the music and dance of a musical (to be expected, right?), but I have to say that the flying car in this one was really an amazing feat, and it really captured the magic you want to see in a performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There were plenty of other spectacular effects, but the car was by far the most dazzling thing to watch. Fitting, I suppose, since the whole show is named after her.
That said, there were some excellent performances too. Richard O'Brien has been highly praised in his role as the Child Catcher, and he certainly lived up to the acclaim in last night's performance. His voice is good, but it is his physicality that most impresses me. He just looks sinister when he dances about the stage.... but sinister in a funny way. What he brings to the role is ideal for the Child Catcher, and will set the standard for how the role is to be performed.
For me, though, Truly Scrumptious stole the show with her voice. She stood out as notably the best singer, followed by the Baron and Baroness. I thought Caractacus Potts was good, but it is hard not to think of Dick Van Dyke's memorable performance in the role in the film.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is directed by Adrian Noble. I couldn't help but call to mind his production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (which I've seen on film and use in class when I teach the play) while watching this musical. It seems that his flair for the spectacular is something that never wanes. It certainly makes for a fun night at the theatre.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is showing at the Esplanade in Singapore until December 9. You can find more information about what's showing at the Esplanade at their website.
Subscribe to Peregrine Online by Email