Thursday, 10 November 2016

REVIEW: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of the most loved family films of all time, it is one of those films that has stayed with us all as we have grown up and has been carried through our adult lives. Its a challenging show to take on tour but this production have aced it! This production brings magic to the New Victoria Theatre. This show has set the bar on the quality of touring shows. 

The show seems to have the same structure as a Pantomime; it has a love story, villains, a comedy duo and magic. I feel like there is a very fine line to when a show becomes too panto like but this was done in the most classy way and has to be the best touring show on the road at the moment and best one around for a long time. 

Stephen Mears choreography is beautiful in this production, all I wanted to do was jump in and join in. I’ve been a fan of Mr Mears work for a while now and this just reiterates why he is one of the hottest creatives around right now. He, paired with James Brining’s Direction, have injected a new lease of life into this much loved family classic. 

The one thing I was unsure about before seeing the show was how they would achieve the flying car in a touring venue but they smashed it! I shan't reveal any secrets, but it sure is special! Simon Higletts design is one of the stars of this show, perhaps a little adventurous for the touring circuit, but what he has envisioned and achieved is perfect. 

Jason Manford exceeds everyones expectations in this role, he’s proven himself to be a musical theatre star in his past few roles and does the same in this show. He has a fatherly warmth and lovable character who we rooted for from the start. He’s partnered with two time Olivier nominated Charlotte Wakefield as Trurly Scrumptious, and she was just that! An interpretation that reminded me of Mary Poppins on a good day, stern but entirely genuine. An effortless
performance that helped carry the show. As a pairing, I did question Manford and Wakefield together because of the age difference however as the show went on you forgot about that because of their innocence and charm on stage, it worked and we believed every moment. 

The Childcatcher has to be most people worst nightmares, everyone remembers that character as a child. To bring that to life on stage and be absolutely terrifying is a challenge, one that Jos Vantyler nails. He was the perfect Villain, the children around me (and possibly even myself…) were shivering in their seats whenever he came on. A performance I shall remember for a long time! 

Claire Sweeney and Phil Jupitus as Baroness and Baron Bomburst were just perfect, Claire had this pantomime villain quality that worked completely and Phil’s comic timing was on point. However the comedy duo, Boris and Goran played by Sam Harrison and Scott Paige were the highlight of the show. They had the audience in stitches and kept on surprising us, they nailed that performance! 

The ensemble are also stars in their own right and even though the lead cast are stellar, it wouldn't be the same without them. Very hard to pick out particular people because they all worked so well together however Ross Russell drew my eye many times, 

This is one of the best shows I have ever seen and the fact that it is a touring production is astonishing. What this production has achieved is of the same quality, if not better, than most of the musicals currently playing in the West End right now. This production needs to transfer to London soon, its what London needs! If you miss this show, you’ll have missed something truly incredible! Or Truly Scrumptious as some might say… 

Rating: ★★★★
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