Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Date 10th April 2019
Society WOW Youth Musical Theatre
Venue Weymouth Pavilion Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Martine Burt
Musical Director Heather Reed
Choreographer Martine Burt

Report

Author: Sylvia Coates

Superlatives abound, but there just aren’t enough to describe WOW’s latest production.  With a level of determination and sheer professionalism to envy, WOW transported the audience to a magical and comical world which everyone should visit at least once.  

One of the outstanding features of this production is the total involvement of everyone on the stage: from the beautifully-dressed Edwardians at the Grand Prix, to the ragged children in the sewers and the fawning courtiers at the castle, everyone was absorbed in their character and the story, which made it all the more real for the audience.  In this show, everyone is a Principal player: ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’, as demonstrated perfectly by the children in this song.

Caractacus Potts gave a very mature performance, was nicely chirpy and cheeky and truthfully depicted a father’s affection for his children; Grandpa Potts was charmingly eccentric and appealing, his ‘Posh’ trio with the children was fun; Jemima and Jeremy were strongly-focused, their speaking and singing bright; Truly Scrumptious performed ‘Lovely Lonely Man’ expressively and found just the right degree of sweetness and control for the music box number; comedy duo Boris and Goran were hilariously inept German spies, with strong, sustained characterisation, a very funny ‘Act English’ routine and a cheeky smile which made the audience roar with laughter; the Toymaker conveyed danger and tension in the short time available to him; the Child-Catcher was lusciously evil, his cool, controlled nastiness making our flesh creep; Baron Bomburst and his Baroness were superb together as they flounced, pouted, flirted and sulked their way round the castle; their ‘Chu-Chi Face’ song, with its fabulous, vivacious choreography was utterly hilarious.  

Choreography is a core strength in this production, with all dancers fully committed to creating an outstanding performance in each number, supported by colourful costumes; the Toot Sweets number was excellent and full of swirling, twirling candy stripes; powerful, martial movement added to the already strong Vulgarian National Anthem; ‘Me Old Bamboo’ was a sequence of complex moves, all beautifully executed, the dancers exuding a vitality which left us breathless; the Inventors and Grandpa proved to be a bunch of extremely energetic old codgers, whose tap dance culminated in an extremely well-timed and co-ordinated fall to the ground; the Samba Ball was just extraordinary - spirited, vibrant and dynamic - and most amazing of all, the Baron still had breath to speak afterwards. 

Technical theatre skills were essential not only backstage, but also onstage, as the young performers dealt competently with flying cars, crazy gadgets and Morris dance poles, remembering to steer clear of the mechanical installation. It is a brave committee which invests so much in a production, but the young people of WOW have more than lived up to it, they have exceeded expectations.

To describe this show as extraordinary does not quite do it justice, but perhaps ‘exceptional’ will do.