Claire Brown attends a night at 'Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang'
was ready for my theatrical debut, carefully planned hair and make-up
perfectly in place, I walked gingerly towards the stage. OK, so
I wasnt appearing in Andrew Lloyd Webbers latest
just dressing up for a night out in Londons West End.
That was my fist mistake, as no-one else had bothered and I was
surrounded by casually clad individuals with my glamourous ideals
of London theatre in tatters. In hindsight, maybe I was a little
over dressed; I was going to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, not Phantom.
It wasnt such a lighthearted affair as you might first think.
The classic childrens film is a serious business in our house
and its biggest fans my sister and I wouldnt be impressed
by anything less than perfect.
Not exactly the sophisticated Londoners, we got very excited before
the show even began - buying up programs, playing with the viewing
glasses and deciding what flavour ice-cream wed have during
However, the pre-show jovials were eclipsed by the opening scene,
a truly stunning display that both entertained and captured the
imagination. Im glad to report that what followed was no different,
we were hooked and extremely impressed.
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Some have critisised
Chitty for its pantomim-esque style, however, I strongly maintain that
this only adds to its appeal. We want to boo the Child Catcher (the spell
biunding Richard OBrien) and cheer on the hero, the irrepressible
Caractacus Potts (captured beautifully by Michael Ball). It was the audience
participation that made the atmosphere in the Palladium so energetic and
The acting was superb, the part of Baron Bombust fitted Brian Blessed
like a glove and his highly successful comedy pairing with Nichola McAuliffe
was magical to watch, not to mention to genius of Anton Rogers as Grandpa
I was so enthralled I found myself thinking the seemingly impossible;
could this be better than the film? The dance numbers brought the songs
to life and the 3D effect of the stage gave the whole event
And so I urge you to go and see it, witness the show that the audience
gave a standing ovation and if all Ive said doesnt persuade
you, Ill confirm the rumours, that yes, the car really does fly.
© Claire Brown August 2002
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