As an avid fan of the movie, I was delighted to hear that the musical version was coming to Sydney - and a tad nervous as to what MAY be done to a beloved children's classic.
But Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's opening night at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney was a resounding success. Without knowing previously of the magnificent technical achievements of this production (let alone the staging costs) it was a joy to see what is an initially a basic set, transform throughout the production into every landscape imaginable, with every little detail taken care of.
The fun and frivolity of the story was not lost on the ensemble and especially the lead "villains" - all four actors who play the spies (George Kapiniaris and Todd Goddard) and the Royals (Jennifer Vuletic and Alan Brough) really do steal the show - and competing with that flying car, its a tall order!
Their ability to sell those roles, without going too far, gives the whole production a real pantomime feel, which balances out what can be at times a scary story of the little ones.
Now to the main leads, Rachel Beck was superb, tackling a very difficult role of Truly Scrumptious - and her interpretation of the music box doll was spot on and oh so well executed.
Leading man, David Hobson's Caraticus Potts didn't really replicate the light hearted nature of the role, as has been portrayed by previous actors - but he bought his own 'serious' stamp to it, to which those familiar with his unique style of vocal performance will enjoy.
It always takes a mammoth effort on behalf of all involved to get any production off the ground, and this cast and crew should be celebrated for their presentation of this work - as fabulous and technically sensational Chitty is, the car alone does not make a great show. Well done to all involved.
CCBB is currently playing the Capitol Theatre in Sydney til mid January 2013, before moving on to Melbourne.