Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a staple in many family households, with a host of iconic characters, fantastic songs by the Sherman Brothers and most famously, a flying car! The film was expanded into a full stage musical enjoying successful West End and Broadway runs as well hugely successful UK tours, with various international productions thrown in. Now, for the first time ever, amateur rights have been released to the show to a limited number of societies across the UK and it was Sheffield’s Manor Operatic Society who got to put on the mainland UK amateur premiere of the show.
Manor’s production stays faithful to the classic film whilst including the expansions that have been brought to the stage production. Their production of the show was very impressive with outstanding sets and costumes, fantastic musical numbers and a spectacular car! Linda Kelly’s choreography is excellent in this show, with particularly highlights including The Bombie Samba and Toot Sweets.
Manor Operatic favourite James Smith leads the cast as Caractacus Potts, demonstrating excellent vocals and a very strong stage presence. Amy Nugent and Joe Davies played Jemima and Jeremy Potts last night and they were terrific. You could easily have seen them in a professional production of the show. Robert Spink’s performance as Grandpa Potts is lovely to watch whilst Richard Coddington does a terrific job in his relatively small yet crucial role of Coggins.
Chris Hanlon and Digory Holmes are both very funny in the roles of Boris and Goran, the Vulgarian spies. Although due to the staging of their scenes, they often felt like they were just being used for set changes, they didn’t fail to entertain the whole audience. Their rendition of Act English was very funny, mocking all things British. Gary Rossiter is lovely as the Toymaker and Christina Rice’s characterisation of Miss Phillips is absolutely spot on. Simon Hance plays the iconic role of the Baron Bomburst as well as Lord Scrumptious and he excels in both roles.
The three best performances of the night for me came from Emma Flanagan-Holmes as Truly Scrumptious, Liam Gordon as the Junkman and the Child Catcher and Emily Mae Hoyland as the Baroness Bomburst. Emma’s Truly is warm and caring yet with a nice amount of strength to her. Her voice is stunning with some nice moments in Lovely, Lonely Man demonstrating the more powerful side to her voice. Liam Gordon is suitably terrifying as both Junkman and the Child Catcher, helped by the great work from the make-up department. Although Kiddy Widdy Winkies isn’t in the show any more, the Child Catcher’s presence was definitely felt throughout Act 2 even when he wasn’t present. Emily Mae Hoyland was tremendous surprise as Baroness Bomburst. She’s been entertaining Manor’s younger audience members wonderfully for a few years as the Princess in various pantomimes and this role is hugely different for her but it works perfectly. She is very funny in the role, her vocals are just impeccable and her characterisation of the role was perfect.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is an impressive production all round and I’m sure anyone would enjoy this fantasmagorical musical!
Manor Operatic Society’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs at Sheffield City Hall until Saturday 19th May 2018. They return to the City Hall with Aladdin from 27th December 2018 until 6th January 2019 and then with Our House from 15th to 18th May 2019.