Theatre review - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Lowry, Salford
- Credit: Archant
Kate Houghton has a wonderful time with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opened at the Lowry last night in a dazzle of song, dance and flying cars. Okay, just the one flying car – but that’s quite enough when the car in question has been loved by the nation since the film version of Ian Fleming’s book opened in 1968. Adapted from the book by Roald Dahl and directed by Cubby Broccoli, the film steps away from the novel in the invention of the terrifying Child Catcher, a character you actually cant’t imagine the story without.
This hideous being also pops up in the musical version of this much-loved family film, though thankfully he’s a little less scary, or we’d have had a mass exodus from the theatre last night and that would have been a great shame, as this is a simply magical production.
Jason Manford is perfectly cast as the widowed inventor Caractacus Potts and boy, can he sing! From the fun song and dance routine of Me Ol’ Bamboo to the heartbreaking lullaby Hushabye Mountain, he has this huge lead role totally under control.
The marvellous Phill Jupitus is another piece of perfect casting as the petulant, demanding and childish Baron Bomburst and his duet with Claire Sweeney, who plays Baroness Bomburst in the You’re My Chu-Chi Face number is an utter joy.
Claire pulls off another marvellous scene in the Samba song and dance too, proving yet again her musical theatre talents, if such proof were needed.
Listening to the reactions of the audience around you is a good way to judge the impact of the show and this show created laugh out loud moments for every member. The double act of the Vulgarian Spies, with their dodgy accents creates many a laugh-out-loud moment and Grandpa Potts is simply hilarious. Parents got plenty of nod nod chuckles too, with small jokes sailing over the heads of their children, from the slapstick of Spotted Dick to the Alan Rickman homage (intentional or not, nothing says we love you Alan better than Phill Jupitus leaning from a window and whispering those menacing words: ‘24 hours…sausage’ to a quailing Grandpa Potts.)
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This is a Christmas treat for all the family and every song will bring you such joy – and if you don’t find yourself singing along and clapping your hands to the biggest song of all, well, bah humbug to you!
Book your tickets toot sweet! (Ooh, that’s a good one too!)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang plays at The Lowry until Sunday 15 January.