Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Date 24th September 2019
Society Pied Pipers Musical Theatre Club
Venue ADC Theatre Cambridge
Type of Production Musical
Director Bryony Sullivan & Helen Garner
Musical Director Andrew Taylor
Choreographer Bryony Sullivan & Helen Garner

Report

Author: Julie Petrucci

Pied Pipers’ fantasmagorical production hit all the right notes at The ADC Theatre.  Chitty is a show that would delight any audience. 

Of course the real star of the show is Chitty herself.  The physical effort of getting Chitty into the theatre and assembling the car must have been immense.  The audience anticipation when the car was about to fly was tangible and the effect itself impressive drawing deserved cheers and applause. Congratulations to those members of the Penguin Club who crewed the show, to Ali Hall for the splendid props and Mike Rudin for the special effects. The excellent lighting designed by Alex Bevan and the sound designed by Nick Hall truly enhanced the production.

There was a strong Principal lineup led by Rodger Lloyd as Caractacus Potts who was excellent.  He has a fine voice, good stage presence, had great interaction with the children and his pairing with Davinia Fisher as Truly Scrumptious really worked well.  Davinia’s beautiful voice was indeed Truly Scrumptious. I enjoyed all her vocals particularly Lovely, Lonely Man and Doll on a Music Box.  They were joined by Hallam Brealey and Chloé Amour as Jeremy and Jemima Potts.  I did not realised how large the Potts children’s roles are but Hallam and Chloé were absolutely splendid both giving very natural, confident performances. Two to watch out for in the future.  The family was completed by David Waterfield as Grandpa Potts. I enjoyed his Roses of Success with the incompetent Inventors. 

This show bears more than a passing resemblance to a pantomime, and performances were judged to satisfy that genre, especially from some of the residents of the Land of Vulgaria.  I enjoyed immensely the entertaining and wonderfully over the top performances from Mark Ogilvie and Rachel Bye as the Baron and Baroness Bomburst.  Rachel’s vocal dexterity and facial expressions were wonderful, she was a joy to watch. Not to be outdone Mark conveyed his character’s ridiculous pomposity beautifully.  Two other stand out characters were the two spies, Boris and Goran played by Richard Scarr and George Miller who made a great double act and were a firm favourite with the audience.  Also in the land of Vulgaria is one of the Baron’s favourite subjects, especially at birthday time, the Toy Maker nicely played by Oliver Hockin and the Baroness’s very favourite subject the Child Catcher scarily played by Tom Heald sporting some great make-up. 

As well as the Principal performers those in the more minor roles; David Burke (Coggins), Emma Harpley (Miss Phillips), Richard Betts (The Junkman) and Peter Dodds (Lord Scrumptious) also showed their worth.

Vocally the Ensemble was very good.  Although there was a huge cast and, at times, the stage did look somewhat crowded, there was much evidence of good choreographic planning by only using a section of the chorus in the dance routines. In fact there was great choreography throughout but especially in Me Ol’ Bamboo and The Bombie Samba where it was most impressive as, despite being crowded, no one bumped into anyone and the routine seemed very slick. The ensemble was required to don a number of ridiculous disguises and Costume Designer Carol Bye and her team excelled themselves throughout with some really superb costuming.

Musically the production was first rate. This show expects an excellent orchestra, great choreography and first-class musical direction.  With Andrew Taylor as MD and Bryony Sullivan and Helen Garner in control as joint Directors/Choreographers this production met all expectations.

As you would expect, the audience loved this very splendid production of a really feel good show.