6 December to 15 January 2107
Reviewed by Louise Turton
A Truly Scrumptious Time
On Wednesday 7 December, myself and five year old son visited The Lowry in Salford Quays, Manchester to watch the stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I was eagerly anticipating the show as it was a favourite of my childhood, while my son was by my side with a little trepidation as he was unaware of the story and not sure what to expect.
Upon finding our seats and looking at the program his fears were strengthened when he caught sight of a picture of the infamous child catcher. At this point he had to be persuaded to stay! I am pleased to report though that from the second it started he was enthralled and mesmerised (as was I) and has talked about the show non-stop since, even proudly taking his program into school to share today.
Based on the novel by Ian Fleming with a score by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman at the heart of the story is a tale of a hapless inventor Caractacus Potts (Jason Manford) who because of the love of his children is determined to buy them ‘Chitty’ whilst at the same time the evil Baron and Baroness Bomburst (Phil Jupitus and Claire Sweeney) want the car for themselves. This is a true musical extravaganza from start to finish with comedy and tenderness thrown together in equal measures. I found myself grinning from ear to ear throughout and seeing the face of my son confirmed the fantastic appeal to the whole of the family. By the time the Child Catcher arrived he was so enthralled in the show he had forgotten his fears.
The stage setting was simple but so effective. When it came to Chitty moving the car was on a lever with a backdrop scenery projected onto the set. All the cast were fantastic, though I must give a special mention to Sam Harrison and Scott Paige playing Boris and Goran – they really did steal the scene every time.
All in all this was a brilliant production that I would highly recommend to young and old. The only small niggles to an otherwise hugely enjoyable evening was that on previous visits to The Lowry I have parked in The Lowry Outlet where you could purchase from any of the shops and have parking validated for free. This has now stopped and parking is charged.
Also about 25 minutes into the show a pre-recorded announcement by Caractacus Potts announced a hitch with his invention and the safety curtain came down halting the show for about 15 minutes. I understand hitches occur but feel there could have been more explanation to what was happening and the audience was left confused.
Like I say that is two very small disappointments in an otherwise brilliant evening.
Tickets cost from £18.50 to £47.50 (includes booking fees).
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is at The Lowry in Manchester until 15 January 2017. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000