Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Musical Review

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.

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Malcolm R. Campbell said...

Naturally, I saw the movie. It would be fun to see how they handle this on the stage.


hifidel said...

It's a little different onstage, sun singer, but still fun. I always love a live performance, though.

They've added in some very contemporary references. I thought that worked well. It was cute, and the effects were pretty amazing!

silken said...

oh I would love to see this! especially in singapore there with you! I loved our outing last christmas and this would be the perfect follow up to that...if only....

hopefully we will get to see this show in the states soon! will be looking forward to it. thanks for the review. (and I imagine it would be hard not to think of Dick Van Dyke in it)

hifidel said...

silken, the Juan Martin concert was a lot of fun, wasn't it? This musical was a very different type of fun. It was held in the Esplanade, the building we could see across the river from where we watched the Juan Martin concert (when they opened the curtains). It was lots of fun.

There's a stage version of Lord of the Flies at Esplanade this week. I'd very much like to go, but I am not sure I'll be able to find the time, since I am traveling again on Sunday.

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