Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: New Wimbledon Theatre, London
Cast: Adam Garcia, Charlie Brooks, Liam Fox, Ellie Nunn, Martin Callaghan, Bibi Jay, Adam Stafford, Michael Joseph, John Macaulay, Roshan Thomson and Gracie Cochrane

Based on Ian Fleming’s timeless story for children and later made into the famous 1968 film, in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG we meet absent-minded inventor Caractacus Potts who restores a broken-down old racing car with the help of his children Jemima and Jeremy. Soon the family discover the car has magical powers, and along with the delectable Truly Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts, they end up on a fantastical adventure to far off lands. Their heart-warming journey makes this a fun-filled hit for all the family.
A Soaring Adaptation of an “Old Banger”.

The tour started kicked in Southampton, April 2024, and will finish in Plymouth, May 2025, so there is still plenty of time and venues across the nation to catch this soaring car and its talented cast.

There are a few things to note: Adam Garcia will be in the tour production from Southampton, up to and including, Blackpool. Charlie Brooks will be appearing from Southampton, up to and including, Norwich, excluding Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Inverness. 

This production is based on Ian Fleming book which was published in 1964 and then later made into the much-loved 1968 film. Having seen the film when I was a child, heading into the theatre last night, I couldn't remember much of the story besides the flying car aspect! However, this made me feel I could go into the theatre with a completely fresh view and open mind, and this show certainly didn't disappoint.

The plot is simple and easy to follow. Chitty tells the story of a Grand-Prix winning car which ends up crashing in the Coggins yard. When Coggins decides to sell the car, two children convince their father to buy the car and he restores it to its glory. However, they later find out this car has magical powers which then takes them on a fantastical adventure...

Caractacus Potts is played by Adam Garcia, who brings the charm and eccentricity of the inventor, while also being a single father figure to his two children. He certainly has a beautiful voice and dances so effortlessly; just so smooth. Truly Scrumptious is played by Ellie Nunn, and the chemistry between Ellie and Adam feels incredibly natural and you see how these characters end up admiring each other. If you've seen the film then you'll know the classic scene of Truly pretending to be a doll made by the Toy Maker (John Macaulay). Ellie made me feel as though she really was a doll as she delivered this scene and song perfectly. It may have even been my favourite part!

I must mention the Baron's henchmen, Boris, played by Adam Stafford, and Goran, played by Michael Joseph. They stole any scene they appeared in and had me in fits of laughter. The humour was almost pantomime like (without the audience interaction, of course). They were a brilliant team on stage together and complimented each other well. Pure joy to watch.

Charlie Brooks played The Child Catcher and I had imagined she'd be brilliant for this role, and I was correct. My only critique is that I wished she'd had more time on the stage! One of my absolute favourites from the evening was our understudy Baroness, Bibi Jay, her quick wit and comical moments had me howling and she was just incredibly funny.

While a flying car is amazing, the performance from the children was the most awe-inspiring part of the evening. Gracie Cochrane and Roshan Thomson were our Jemima and Jeremy for the evening and the talent they possess absolutely amazed me. They delivered their lines and songs with such ease and conviction, and had a wonderful dynamic on stage with Adam and Ellie.

While I may not have remembered the story, I remembered the iconic songs from the movie, and they were all packed into this stage production of the classic. This really gave me a wave of nostalgia. The staging by Morgan Large works really well for what they need to be able to do the touring production, I did wonder how they would do the car scenes. And while you can see the movement mechanism at times, it doesn't detract from the show at all. However, when they show the car flying above water, it's lit against a starry sky background and it definitely gave the illusion of the car flying, its a truly magical moment to witness that'll "wow" both children and adults.

This is a great show for nostalgic adults who may have seen this when they were younger and definitely a hit for any children in your life, so be sure to grab those tickets before they fly away. This is definitely a show you won't want to miss.

You can book tickets to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on its UK tour, here.

Review by Sarah

**photo credit: Paul Coltas**

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