Brett Herriot Review

SLO: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Review:

“True Theatrical Joy

***** 5 Stars

The legendary 1968 movie beloved by a generation made its stage debut at the London Palladium in 2002 sticking faithfully to the films story of Caractacus Potts (The sublime Rory McLean) a much maligned inventor who with his Children Jeremy (Oliver Thomson) and Jemima (Martha Brodick) and rich heiress Truly Scrumptious (The Devine Tanya Williamson) embark on an amazing magical adventure in the restored racing car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and do battle with the evil Child Catcher (a deliciously evil turn from Charles Leeson-Payne). Southern Light Opera Edinburgh’s oldest running local company do more than justice in this production which is true theatrical joy from start to finish.

Everything in this epic show is joyful, from stunning lead performances to an ensemble that numbers nearly one hundred its clear every member of the cast is enjoying their moment on stage and that flows across the footlights to audience who are with them from the off. Director Quintin Young has delivered in spades ensuring the story comes through at a cracking pace and allowing the vast company to build unique characters, this is character show at heart and perfectly suited to the SLO. Assistant director and Choreographer Louise Williamson brings a skilful touch to the dance numbers working with a dedicated core de dance but also getting the wider ensemble moving.

Musically this show is a triumph the Sherman brother’s score brought to life by Musical Director Tommie Travers excellent 12 piece pit orchestra  with the lush orchestrations filling the Festival theatre grand auditorium,  a auditorium that befits and enhances the production no end. Couple the music with faultless vocals from the entire company and musically this is a slice of the west end in the heart of the capital.

Production wise this is glorious in every respect, James Gow’s beguiling lighting design is faultless going shrouded growing darkness to full on animation and the moment that Chitty takes flight brings a deserved ovation and makes for a spine tingling moment. Paul Smith’s sound design also delivers, despite a couple small slips which if anything were just opening night jitters he ensures every word and lyric is heard.

Sandra Summers Costume design is on an epic scale including an array of every crazier outfits, mix this with Scenic Projects impressive set and Adrian Patricks inventive projection design ensures that quality runs through this production from top to bottom.

Southern Light should be proud of this stellar production that delivers true value for the ticket money and really does deliver an excellent night of musical theatre that embraces all the family with all the elements blending together for a truly scrumptious adventure! So rush to the Festival Theatre for those last tickets before there all gone! And beware of the Child Catcher!

SLO: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Festival Theatre  Runs until Saturday 20th May, for tickets go to: Southern Light presents: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (


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