Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

August 20, 2008 – 3:47 pm | by chooper

“There are children here somewhere… I can smell their blood… I can feel it in my bones…”

So you thought Ian ‘H’ Watkins was scary when he was in Steps? Just wait until you see him as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Whirling onto the stage on a caged wagon dragged by a nightmarish carousel steed, he flawlessly embodies those dark childhood terrors usually kept hidden in the void under the bed or in shadowed wardrobes. Children in the audience cringe and peek between their fingers while even the adults grip tight to their (very comfortable) seats and ensure they don’t look the Catcher in the eye…

The Child Catcher is only on stage for a relatively short period, but even so, he steals the show. But that’s not to deride the other excellent performances – it’s just that (as writer Ian Fleming and original screenwriter Roald Dahl both knew) such a truly scary character, when played well, would always loom large in the imaginations of the audience.

Former choirboy Aled Jones is also superb as crackpot inventor Caractacus Potts, although he’s clearly not quite as limber as Dick Van Dyke (the film original), judging from the dance scenes. And Truly Scrumptious (played by Rachel Stanley) is so close to the film original you’d almost believe it was Sally Ann Howes up there.

And it’s not just the great performances all-round that make the show a success. The sets and special effects are truly amazing. And, of course, some of the most memorable songs in the history of the musical make the show a winner with both kids and adults alike.

It’s a long show for younger children, but the all-encompassing intensity of a live stage performance should keep their imaginations captured for the duration and will make for an unforgettable experience.
It runs in Cardiff until August 30th and if you can afford the £40 per ticket price tag (although you can get some for £19.50 + booking fee), go and see it.

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4 stars (out of 5)
  1. One Response to “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff”

  2. By Victoria Gourlay on Oct 15, 2008 | Reply

    Hi! I was in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Just to tell all the people who are thinking about going and see it. It is one of the best shows I have ever seen. The charecters are really good and so is the scenery. It is fantsamagorical!!

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