Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Previews

Review about the shows on 3rd and 4th April 2002 by Chris Kitchen

Hey what a fabulous 2 days I've just had! It all started when the receptionist at the hotel took pity on me, and let me have a great triple room on the ground floor, rather than the single room onthe 2nd floor - choice of beds and no stairs after my exertions in London, not to mention late nights! Then I discovered a bus that went nearly to the Palladium from the hotel virtually - much cheaper than taxis and pleasanter than tubes late at night! Then the shows! I met up with Jennie Bradley the first night, and had a good natter. Then settled for the show. I think they must have shortened the first bit, as it wasn't nearly as people mentionned before.

Our first sound of Michael was him hammering at an invention, although he couldn't be seen - they've cut the rocket/parachute idea! He looks amazing and his voice was on top form.

All the main characters are superbly cast. On the first night, Brian Blessed had a fall during Chutchy face, and knocked a screen down. He and Nicola were laughing so much, they had to stop the orchestra to get a new link into the song! Richard O'Brian as the childcatcher is wonderful - watch out for his exit when you go! He is also really likeable at the stage door - hopefully photos will show it when and if they come out. Emma is very good despite her youth, and I'm sure is learning from Michael and the chemistry is growing! The children as Jeremy and Jemima were better on the first night than on the second - there are 6 of them sharing the two roles, so it depends which ones you get.I've always admired Anton Rogers as an actor, and he makes a wonderful eccentric Grandpa Potts!

Now about the Caractacus character - wow have those dancing lessons payed off! Unbelievable -I felt really proud of him watching him dance with professional dancers, especially on the second night, when the people behind, who were not MB fans, said what a wonderful dancer he was, how great his voice was, and how surprised they were! I wasn't surprised at all - Michael as always is a true performer and perfectionist. The overwhelming feeling I got was of his complete enjoyment of what he is doing, even though he is tired by the end. He gets a great ovation from the audience, which on both nights were a very mixed bunch. At the stage door, there were not that many people waiting for him, so the audience was definitely not packed with absolute fans like us!

The car is still definitely the star though. And honestly, the effects are so good, you really can believe it's flying. There are lots of really good special effects apart from the car too. There will be mishaps, like Brian falling, Jemima's seat belt not fastening easily, so Michael had to adlib, and a stray dog during Hushabye Mountain, which was distracting, but all in all a wonderful entertainment for all the family, and there were all ages there, from about 2 to 82 I should think!

Afterwards, I went to the stage door on both nights. On the first night, I was intent on giving him Kerstin's cuddle, and getting something done for Sue. Sorry Kerstin, gave him the cuddle, but forgot to mention it was from you!!!!! Hopefully it's on film. Jennie's dad took some photos on his camera, but Gareth took one for me with my camera. Just hope it was working

OK. On the second night, there were less people there, so I got autographs from Anton, Emma and Richard (photo with him too - he even took his crash helmet off - travels to and from the theatre on his motorbike!) They stagger the stars coming out, so you don't miss them. I never saw Nicola or Brian leave, so I think they must have used another exit. Michael appeared to be the last to come out. He was really tired on the second night, so Gareth was trying, but failing, to hurry things up. That was Michael's fault, not the fans. I had a chat with his driver, who seems very nice, and recognised me from the night before. Well, I was right beside him both nights - Michael couldn't escape without me knowing! After getting Michael's autograph on my programme, and another photo with him (making up for missing out at the Donmar!), I took a couple of photos of him at the car, and then walked up towards the bus stop, chatting with Gareth, who seemed well pleased with how things are progressing! All in all, a wonderful time, and I cannot wait to go back in May and July.

Oh, nearly forgot - the new song, Teamwork is wonderful and I cannot wait for Michael to incorporate it into his shows hopefully. It really is that good.Hope none of you have fallen asleep reading, but it cannot be described in less!

Impressions written down by Chris Kitchen

04/09/2004 14:32

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