Friday, May 20, 2005

Chitty Bang!

Call me contrary, I absolutely adored Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It got through my thick layer of defensive cynicism. I'm unlikely to be convinced it doesn't deserve best new musical. Chances are pretty slim given that it's not nominated.

Sadly most of Manhattan condemned it well before opening night. I have to keep disabusing people of the idea that it's a Disney production.

This staging is much darker than the film, creeping up to the quite disturbing level of the book. I'm glad I'm not one of the several hundred parents currently pleading that the childcatcher is just a story...

Taken for what it is, spectacle derived from Panto, CCBB is plain good fun. Raul Esparza is superb as Caractacus Pott- I get why he's a star now, I'd only ever seen him sing Taboo. Jan Maxwell who played Baroness Bomburst was equally clever, the character is 100% comic villain, Cruella DeVille meets Natasha [as in Boris and].

The absolute show stealer for me was Kevin Cahoon as the childcatcher. Only complaint is that the role is too small.

I've read the critics but, as best I can tell, everyone was loving it- kids, adults, luvvies and tourists.

I sat with a [I assume] classically Jewish New Yorker, he spoke of arriving at Ellis Is after the war while most of his extended family ended up in Sydney. He had his grand-daughter who was such a delight. She was so enjoying playing princess for an evening, I had to indulge her and play gentleman to her lady.

The flying car is fantastic.

The magic of the Theatre really is something special, everyone should experience having Chitty fly over them.

[btw- fight for orchestra centre tickets to be in the thick of the fun]

I just can't imagine how anyone couldn't have fun with this show but I'm busy meeting my inner-child and such.


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