Chitty Chitty Bang Bang takes centre stage as the Lowry’s Christmas show, with a colourfully animated production of the classic musical.
With the iconic music by the Sherman brothers, it is a sensational family musical that provides immense humour and sparkle. When inventor Caractacus Potts and his children find an old Grand Prix winning car on the scrap heap, unknown to them it turns out to be a magical car. Meanwhile in Vulgaria, the Baroness has sent her two spies Goran and Boris to steal the car, however this doesn’t quite go to plan which leads the family to Vulgaria.
This UK tour is a spectacular production that boasts the traditional elements of the musical with contemporary adaptations. This is echoed in the costumes as they are styled to fit the era, yet are designed with bright colours to create a more vibrant look. The staging has a modern aesthetic, with large walls resembling the outside of a house that transition across the stage smoothly, the staging predominantly uses lighting and projection to set the scene. The innovative special effects particularly added to Jos Vantyler’s menacing Child Catcher.
Video designer Simon Wainwright does a magnificent job bringing the story to life with video projection. The moving imagery adds to the set and progresses the story, Wainwright has cleverly created the moving countryside background whilst the car is in motion. Although the car flew, I found it slightly underwhelming as opposed to previous productions.
Jason Manford leads the cast as the charming Caractacus Potts, he brings an excellent warmth to the role, as he appears humble and loving through both his characterisation and song. Alongside him, Charlotte Wakefield plays the graceful and confident Truly Scrumptious, her approach to the role is effortless, as her sweet tone and caring qualities are portrayed so naturally.
The two children Jeremy and Jemima, who have beautiful chemistry with their father Potts and Truly Scrumptious. For incredibly big roles to take on as children, they both give a flawless performance which is highlighted in their performance of Truly Scrumptious.
The comedy aspect to the musical is what makes it so special and this is conveyed through the comedy duos. Clare Sweeney and Phil Jupitus take on the roles of the child-loathing Baron and Baroness’ of Vulgaria. Their exaggerated personalities are portrayed superbly through their thick European accents and extravagant movement. Clare Sweeney provides an astounding performance of The Bombie Samba, as she leads the ensemble in the flamboyant dance number.
The stand out performance belongs to Andy Hockley who plays Grandpa Potts. His characterisation is highly funny and his character has a warmth to it that is displayed through his chemistry with his grandchildren Jemima and Jeremy. Similarly, the Baron and Baroness’ spies Goran and Boris played by Scott Paige and Sam Harrison bring a tremendous amount of energy in their dynamic performance. Their comedy timing is perfect and they bounce off each other exceptionally.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a show bursting with vibrant ensemble numbers such as Me Ol’Bamboo and Toot Sweets. Choreographer Stephen Mear captures the spectacular elements of the numbers with his tight yet elaborate movement that is performed with profound energy.
On at the Lowry until Sunday the 15th of January, tickets can be found here.