Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – we love you!

PUBLISHED: 11:21 26 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:26 26 January 2017

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is at the Bristol Hippodrome now.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is at the Bristol Hippodrome now.

©ALASTAIR MUIR CONTACT alastair@alastairmuir.com

The stage version of the classic children’s story of Chitty Chiity Bang Bang has landed in Bristol for the final stage of its nationwide tour – and its star studded cast really are set to go out with a bang.

Jason Manford stars as Caractacus Potts.Jason Manford stars as Caractacus Potts.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opened at the Bristol Hippodrome last night (Wednesday), with Jason Manford as Caractacus Potts, Phill Jupitus as Lord Scrumptious and Baron Bomburst and Claire Sweeney as Baroness Bomburst all members of its talented cast. The Mercury’s content editor Briana Millett went along to review the show…

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was perhaps my favourite film as a child (I would watch it on repeat so often I swear my mum hid the video tapes a few times to save her sanity) so when I walked in to the Hippodrome last night I felt like I was either going to love the show or loathe it – thankfully, I loved it.

I had seen Jason Manford and Phill Jupitus before when they starred together in The Producers, so I had high hopes for the night as everyone knows Claire Sweeney can hit notes other people didn’t even know existed.

Jason Manford’s relationship with the two children – who were played by Finn Richards (Jeremy) and Emma Jane Shorrock (Jemima) last night – could not have come across as more genuine on stage. The children were both bursting at the seams with talent and Manford’s rendition of Hushabye Mountain had me completely caught up in the moment. The star is obviously most well known for his comedy, so it is easy to presume he would be hard to take seriously on the stage, however he really can sing and he played Potts perfectly.

Phill Jupitus and Claire Sweeney were also the perfect duo as the Baron and Baroness – their rendition of Chu-Chi Face had the audience in absolute stitches – their accents, physicality and comedic acting could not have been better.

The entire show was full of funny moments, with the Vulgarian spies particular highlights for me. Their imaginative disguises and funny quips had the whole crowd laughing out loud.

One of the main concerns I had going in was how the set would work. After all, Chitty needed to float AND fly. Some serious hydraulics mixed with clever projections, lighting and scenery meant the magic of Chitty was brought to live in this show – and the awe-struck faces of the children sat close to me proved they were almost as caught up in the magic as I was, almost.

I could not recommend seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang more, it’s a light-hearted show (minus the terrifying portrayal of the Child Catcher) and you will be sure to leave with a beaming smile on your face.

* Disclaimer, 18 hours later and I’m still humming ‘Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Our fine four fendered friend’.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is at the Bristol Hippodrome now (Thursday) until February 4. There are various performance times which can be found via the theatre’s website. Tickets, priced from £20, are available via www.atgtickets.com/venues/bristol-hippodrome or by calling 08448 713012.

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