REVIEW: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Wolverhampton Grand

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a stage musical based on the 1968 film of the same name. Having run both in London and on Broadway the show has undertaken numerous tours and still holds the record for the most expensive stage prop ever produced!

First thing's first - let's not underestimate the scale of the task at hand. So many theatre companies put on amazingly successful shows across the UK and I find myself astounded every time I get to watch the professionalism and talent we have in the West Midlands. However Chitty is on a different scale to other productions because there's such a huge expectation for *that* moment.

The need to pull this show off in its entirety is on par with Elphaba needing to fly in Wicked or the helicopter needing to appear overhead in Miss Saigon. So the audience took their seats with a certain trepidation.

What's also wonderful to see is that Bilston Operatic Company are yet another of our local societies who are investing in their shows. The set in particular this evening was stunning and more than on par with professional run's of the show - special mention should go to the creative team because both of those areas - coupled with the orchestra - were outstanding. This show is a spectacle and that was emphasised by the production values it subscribed to.

However the glue that holds the show together is undoubtedly the cast; and there are some real stand out stars in the making on stage this week.

Alec White and Issy Checketts lead the company as Caractacus and Truly respectively. Both are strong performers with good singing voices and are clearly safe hands to guide the others on stage. Stacey Lovatt and Jon Ranwell are a fantastic comedy addition as the Baroness and Baron who, along with their spies, add the token bad guys to the production. The skill here is to play the part with enough comedy to make us smile...but without over egging the pudding, which both did superbly.

However, for me, stand out performances came from Lara Maguire and Oliver Rudge as Jeremy and Jemima. Both are school children who clearly have a huge future ahead of them. Their efforts this evening had the audience captivated and rightly so - if this is the future of the British theatre industry then we're clearly heading in the right direction!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs until Saturday 11th November. For more information, or to get your tickets, head to

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