Ready for take-off? The most fantasmagorical musical ever, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang wows Newcastle

-Credit: (Image: Paul Coltas)
-Credit: (Image: Paul Coltas)

Fans of musical theatre are in for an absolute treat with the spectacular production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Audiences at Newcastle Theatre Royal were ecstatic in their applause on Tuesday night and quite rightly for a sumptuous performance. The musical film of the same name hit cinemas in 1968 and kids loved it – the characters, the names, the songs and the flying car. The film was based on a book by Ian Fleming, who gave us James Bond (although The Child Catcher is absent from the book), and it was produced by Bond supremo ‘Cubby’ Broccoli. Roald Dahl co-wrote the screenplay.

Fast forward to 2002 and the first adaptation for the stage arrived and now the West End production is here in Newcastle until Saturday.

Playing Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, following in the nimble footsteps of a legend like Dick Van Dyke, is fantastic, Olivier-nominee Adam Garcia known for Wicked, Kiss Me Kate, and Coyote Ugly.

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To put the plot in a nutshell, Potts is a single dad to Jeremy and Jemima and also a crazy inventor who has come up with a sweet that dogs can’t resist. His life changes when a lady called Truly Scrumptious and a flying car comes into it.

Musical devotees are in for a treat -Credit:Paul Coltas
Musical devotees are in for a treat -Credit:Paul Coltas

Soon the family discover the old racing car has magical powers, and along with Grandpa Potts (played by Liam Fox from Emmerdale) and Truly, they end up on a fantastical adventure to far-off lands.

Truly is played by Ellie Nunn who sings beautifully and delivers an accomplished performance. Jasmine Nyenya is a delight as Jemima and just as splendid is Ayrton English as Jeremy. Charlie Brooks (The Ocean at the End of the Lane and EastEnders) plays The Childcatcher and had the young ones in the audience petrified.

Amazing comic relief came from The Baron (Martin Callaghan) and the Baroness (Jenny Gayner) and Boris (Adam Stafford) and Goran (Michael Joseph) were just splendid and almost stole the show.

The story has stood the test of time. There are the characters created by Fleming, including the appealing Potts, a man looking for love but ultimately focused on his career and his kids.

And musical devotees are in for a treat as there’s music by the Sherman brothers (Americans Richard and Robert) who wrote iconic and wonderful songs including Toot Sweets, Hushabye Mountain, Truly Scrumptious and of course the Academy Award-nominated title song, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Charlie Brooks is the magnificent The Childcatcher -Credit:Paul Coltas
Charlie Brooks is the magnificent The Childcatcher -Credit:Paul Coltas

As a whole, the musical is joyous with wonderful sets, costumes and an amazing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which drew gasps when the magic started.

The exceptional production at Newcastle Theatre Royal also features a brilliant ensemble and a magnificent orchestra. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also has some very talented young performers so a huge shout out to the local children who played the poor wretches hidden away from the Baroness.

Looking across to the audience last night out at the final bow you can see all the different age groups on their feet smiling and cheering. It’s a very special night. The standing ovations were completely deserved as it was spectacular, beautiful to look at, and superbly performed and all generations enjoyed it last night.

At the Theatre Royal until June 8. Tickets from the box office on 0191 232 7010 or the Theatre Royal website