Tuesday, July 16

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – New Wimbledon Theatre

The show opened in a blast of action, the headlights of racing cars zooming along, celebrating winners and fearing the losers, moving swiftly to a scene of an old disused car abandoned in Coggins yard. The children, Jemima played by Gracie Cochrane and Jeremy, Roshan Thomson were true to the likeness of the original children in Flemings’ book and it was not long before Truly Scrumptious played by Ellie Nunn and Caractacus Potts Adam Garcia appeared, to the delight of the audience. The puppeteers controlled the dogs seamlessly and interacted well with the actors providing an air of artistic flare, especially during the scenes of mayhem in Lord Scrumptious sweet factory. Grandpa Potts played by Liam Fox together with Ellie and Adam’s performances were true to the original screenplay cast which was endearing to watch. Miniature models of Grandpa’s shed and the car floated across the stage resembling scenes from an old Greek theatre in times gone by when the puppeteers would orchestrate scene changes, this was amusing.      

The characters on stage interacted well with each other and gave convincing performances, the funny lines landed so well, Boris, Adam Stafford and Goran, Michael Joseph had the audience laughing and smiling.  Baron and Baroness Bomburst of Vulgaria did not disappoint with their cheeky ways and innuendo’s. A flavour of Brazil saw the Baroness Bibi Jay give us her Salsa dancing moves to add some pizzazz to the production; all for  ‘coochy face’ Bomburst. This did not look out of place. Charlie Brooks aka the notorious child catcher synonymous with her EastEnders character eased her way in offering a different perspective to what is infamously a recognisable character within the story. This was refreshing and not stereotypical, it would have been nice to have her more on stage but none the less it was impactful.  

The anticipation of the entrance of “the car” Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was palpable and wow it did not disappoint. Relief and awe from the audience when every movement worked! The impression was by the sheer professionalism and craft of the staging there was no doubt it would fail. Waiting for her ‘the car’ to fly and she did was a super sight. Truly the star of the show and was the original Chitty from the London Palladium show. All the classic songs were there from Truly Scrumptious to Lullaby Mountain to oh, you, pretty Chitty Bang Bang for the enjoyment of the audience to sing a long too. The choreography and music is timeless and brought to life beautifully on stage; so much to watch and see a feast for the eyes. There are loud bangs and strobe lighting which might not suit everyone. 

The scenes moved quickly along but did not detract from the essence of the story. For people familiar with the 1968 screenplay they would recognise there is a lot to get through. For newcomers to the story it could be viewed as being fast paced with many set changes, so keeping on top of the storylines maybe a challenge. However the icon that is ‘Chitty’ will always be a crowd pleaser and this is a feel good family show, well-orchestrated, professionally produced with a cast who appeared to be enjoying every moment. This will not disappoint and will leave you feeling nostalgic.   

Reviewer: Michelle Knight

Reviewed: 21st May 2024  

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.