Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a well-known children’s book that was adapted into a motion picture in 1968. Early in 2002 it was adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams and Ray Roderick, and with this Centerstage Geelong was lucky enough to successfully to obtain the rights to be able to perform the Victorian Amateur Premier of this colourful and magical show.
After seeing the professional version of the show in Melbourne 2013, I knew that the show required high technical abilities and was intrigued to see how the tech team would be able to make this show a ‘flying’ success.
The opening overture was accompanied by original early 1920/30’s racing car footage, which was a nice touch and fitted into the plot very well.
Mark Monroe who portrayed Caractacus Potts, Kempton Maloney and Sophia Grant who portrayed Jeremy Potts and Jemima Potts respectively had wonderful chemistry on stage and portrayed the ‘Potts’ family convincingly.
Rachel Allen who portrayed Truly Scumptious was faultless in her performance, I believe it was Rachel’s first amateur theatre production, and although Opening Night can bring nerves and can sometimes affect one’s performance. Rachel’s performance was truly an exceptional one.
However, in saying that, it wasn’t these performers that stole the show. Patt Ryan and Tim Maloney were the ones who stole the show, their performance of the Vulgarian Spies of Boris and Goran was very amusing and Ryan and Maloney’s comedic timing was excellent and had the audience in stiches of laughter.
If I was to find a fault in any of the performers it would be David Mackay and his accent of Baron Bomburst, I would just possibly place this as opening night nerves and that his accent would be stronger and more polished as the season progresses.
Lighting and Sound was faultless and worked very well together. However, the stage management was in parts awkward with a couple of scenes seemed unrehearsed and the stage crew not knowing what was coming next and almost having to be part of the scene.
Choreography was another area that could have been tighter, from the reading the program I have noticed that they split the role of director and choreographer between two people. Depending on the show, these sometimes need to be separated and worked on individually, the directing of the show was fantastic but the choreography could have been tighter especially in dance numbers such as “Toot Sweets” and “Come to the fun fair”.
Set design by David Greenwood was amazing and everything had a place and the set was deigned very well with keeping true to era, and worked hand in hand with the costumes.
At the conclusion of the show, I felt that the ending seemed to be slightly unrehearsed, almost like they did not have enough time in rehearsals, however overall you did feel like you had just watched a professional show and it was felt that the entire audience enjoyed the performance and had a great night out.
But, the most important question. Did the car fly? Well, I am not giving that away, you will just have to go and see for yourself.