Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
|Date||24th October 2019|
|Society||Newtown Musical Theatre Company|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Kat Bond|
Author: Lyn Emmerson [on behalf of Jackie Titley]
I had the privilege of attending the opening night of this very popular musical and was quite intrigued to see how this piece panned out. I have never seen the stage version before, and was conscious that this was a huge challenge to the Company, however, the expertise of the experienced Stage Crew overcame any first night mishaps which occurred. Clever set design once again by Bridget Wallbank gave enough room for the ‘fantasmagorical machine’ – Chitty - together with the large chorus to perform their tasks. However, I did feel that when the car was not on stage, the set was rather minimalistic. Props were well constructed and operated by both Crew and Cast.
Richard Jones took on the role of Caractacus Potts, inventor and father of two children, and gave a ‘truly’ memorable performance. His rapport with Jeremy and Jemima was just perfect, demonstrating from the start the love he had for his children. He coped well with all his musical numbers. I particularly enjoyed his gentle redition of ‘Hushabye Mountain’ and in contrast the energetic ‘Me Ol Bamboo’ with the Ensemble – brilliant number performed by all and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ was memorable. Lovely characterisation from Amber Deacon as ‘Truly Scrumptious’ who again proved her versatility and eagerness at being capable of playing any role. Again lovely singing, perfectly in charge of all her tasks. ‘Truly Scrumptious’ was a highlight in the first Act together with ‘Toot Sweets’ which involved the Chorus.
Great to see these youngsters performing with such confidence. Owain Jones and Caitlyn Bloor, as the children Jeremy and Jemima respectively, took the bull by the horns and gave performances well beyond their years. They have been in previous productions and this really showed as they reacted to every situation and their singing was spot on. I have no doubt that the roles of Jeremy and Jemima played by Matthew Pawley and Tilly Stephens on alternative performances, also gave professional characterisations. I remember them in Newtown MTC’s production of The Sound of Music earlier in the year. A lovely Children’s Chorus from a group of disciplined budding actors added much to the success of the piece – Well Done!
The role of Grandpa Potts suited Andrew Bond down to the ground. His performances just like his song with the Inventors ‘The Roses of Success’ – they grow on you. Admirable delivery of his ‘Posh’ number with Jeremy and Jemima, yet another feather in his cap.
The duo of Spies were ingeniously played by Alex Oakay as Boris, and Craig Harris as Goran who both gave cunning performances. Their comedy hit all the right notes as did their singing with ‘Act English’, both performances were well received by the audience.
Les Skilton was in full flow doubling as Lord Scrumptious, and the spoilt childish Baron Bomburst. Jessamy Ashton fully immersed herself in the role of Baroness Bombhurst, taking every advantage of this enviable ‘over the top’ role, she led the chorus well with an enthusiastic ‘Bombie Samba’. Tim Parkes in the cameo role of The Childcatcher gave us a scary portrayal, whilst Tom Foy as The Toymaker did all that was required. There were many minor roles, all well played. The team off six ‘Inventors’ fully immersed themselves in their hilarious roles but to no avail as their car just collapsed to the delight of the audience.
An energetic chorus supported the Principles in well – choreographed routines, Tremendous hard work from the costume and make up department with such a large cast. All costumes pertinent to the period but I thought the Vulgaria scene costumes were particularly stunning to say the least. Scene changes were swift and efficient which is what we have come to expect from this prestigious crew.
I understand Saturday matinee performance ended on an exciting note with Goran, the Spy proposing to Truly on stage – Beat that for a happy ending!! Thank you all and I look forward to ‘Footloose’.