Chitty Chitty Bang BangPhotos – Jeff Busby

There is magic in the theatre like no other place! This show has it all – singing, dancing, heroes, villains, children, dogs, colour, lights and spectacle, fun, laughter, illusion and most spectacularly, a flying car.

Ian Fleming’s famous children’s story turned musical had a lot of that magic as a family favourite film, and it translates to the stage beautifully, retaining all that magic, even gaining some, simply because it is live.

Two of Australia’s darlings of the stage: Rachael Beck and David Hobson lead this excellent and very tightly disciplined cast, ably partnered by Alan Brough, and Jennifer Vuletic (great voice!) as the mad Baron and Baroness Bomburst, and other principals all of whom get it right. Two very accomplished children as Jeremy (alternating between Finnegan Green, Kade Hughes, and Beau Woodbridge) and Jemima (Quinn Cameron, Piper Horner or Caitlin Vippond) are also central. But the undoubted star is the fabulous car, from its splendid unveiling to its spectacular take-off.

Touted as the most expensive stage prop ever built, it is indeed masterpiece of stage engineering, and is used to very great effect whether driving along, passing runners and cyclists in superbly effective stage techniques, floating on its hovercraft skirt on a foaming sea, or spreading its wings and soaring above the stage to the gasps and cheers of its devotees in the audience. The sets and costumes by Anthony Ward are imaginative and spectacular, as is the lighting by Matt Scott, all supporting a great cast.

The familiar title song, and all the other music is well handled by the ensemble in the pit directed by Peter Casey, and by the soloists and chorus alike, and the choreography by Dana Jolly is precisely and expressively wrought by the entire cast including the fourteen extra children in act 2. (Who says you can’t work with children or animals! This show has both.)

David Hobson is very appealing as Caractacus, with his mellifluous tenor (his dancing was just as impressive), and Rachael Beck is Truly Scrumptious, perfectly fitting the role, her voice echoing Julie Andrews’ at times, but without quite so much sugar.

While this is clearly a great family show, with great appeal to children of all ages, (although the sinister Child Catcher scene could be scary for the younger ones), there are grown-up jokes as well, making it just as much fun for big people, who can also appreciate the considerable artistry of the entire production.

Tim Lawson and the Adelaide Festival Centre present
Music and Lyrics by Richars M Sherman and Robert B Sherman | adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams and Ray Broderick | based on the MGM Motion Picture.

Directed by Roger Hodgman

Venue: Adelaide Festival Theatre
Dates: May 1 – 26, 2013
Tickets: $115.90 – $65.90
Bookings: BASS 131 246 |

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