Can the lovable but whacky inventor Potts, along with his two children and the gorgeous Truly Scrumptious, outwit the bombastic Baron Bomburst who has decreed that all children be banished from his kingdom?
Find out when Michael Burnie directs Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for Brighton Theatre Group on its return to Brighton Theatre Royal from Wednesday, August 21-Saturday, August 24.
Michael is promising the musical that has got everything: “Everyone knows Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The film was on at Christmas. I haven’t watched it for a long time, but I sat and watched it and it was great. There are certain classics like The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins, and you find that people who don’t usually go to the theatre will come along to the theatre to see something like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
The family favourite promises laughs, magic galore and favourite songs including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hushabye Mountain, Toot Sweets, Me Ol’ Bamboo, Truly Scrumptious – and the flying Chitty herself.
There has been a terrific reaction from the public since the news broke that the company would be staging Chitty, says Michael.
“The response from people to the show has been great. It has never been to Brighton before. We are the only company in the area.”
Part of the appeal is that the show brings the company back to the Theatre Royal for the first time in six or seven years, Michael says: “We have done other venues. We went to the Corn Exchange. With the youth group we did Les Miss, Miss Saigon, Legally Blonde… it was just that we were trying a different venue out. We went in there and it worked really well in terms of the logistics and the space and the dressing room. We stayed there for three or four years with the youth group and we did a mixture of shows. We were still doing the adult productions in the smaller venue at the Old Market.”
But Chitty has been on the cards for the company for a while: “Every year we would be looking to see if it was available. And then last year we heard that it had been released to a handful of groups around the UK, us being one of them. We knew we couldn’t do the Old Market just because of the size, and the Corn Exchange has been closed down for the past 18 months. We approached them, but they could not guarantee that they would be ready in time.”
So the company approached Brighton Theatre Royal and a slot was found: “And the Theatre Royal is just ideal for Chitty. We have got a huge car and also you need to have space on the stage to keep the car. You need a massive stage for that.”
Then came the task of casting. There are no fewer than 54 people in the adult cast which the company lined up before Christmas. After Christmas, they auditioned for the children – and had a remarkable 300 children respond.
“It really took off in a big way! But it is such a great show. The music, the songs are classics, and it is such an uplifting story with something for everyone.”