Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr – Noda Review

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr
DATE 17th September 2023
SOCIETY Wadhurst Dramatic Club
VENUE Wadhurst Commemoration Hall
DIRECTOR Amanda Dann
WRITTEN BY Ian Fleming
Author: Anne Lawson

What an afternoon in the company of Wadhurst’s young performers as they charmed us with their delightful Jr Chitty production. The magical children’s story, well executed using the whole of the hall to its full potential. Back projection of exciting vintage motor races accompanied by the piped music set the scene. Simple double flats were choreographed neatly to change locations with additions of simple insets and signage. Entry and exits through central isle gave a further dimension and kept movement flowing onto the stage. Plenty of comedy was created not only with lines but facial expressions, costumes and good European accents.

The cast worked hard with the lyrics in vocals as well as script and kept very good time with the music – all well balanced. Holly set movement which the children performed delightfully.

A fine backdrop depicting the Pott’s windmill was created by Anthony Hart and Merlin Beedell together with a good castle wall effect too, and all ran smoothly with Lisa Hart as SM with assistant Kieran Howlett.

The brightly coloured folding A5 programme printed on good quality firm card was both attractive and easy to read, contained a lot of information in a small space which was designed by Nick Dann. Russ Kirton headed sound, well balanced and cued – some loss on personal mikes on the odd occasion but generally the little ones coped with them well but must understand that they should always try to project and not always rely upon them. Lighting plot from Issac Blakeley was good and effects around the car magical.

Kate Adams and Lianne Reynolds designed the colourful imaginative costumes using fine detail in each character be it a moustache, wig, a row of medals, the bright red braces, the black and red of the Baron and Baroness plus a regal gold trim of the soldiers. I particularly enjoyed Grandpa’s eccentric persona very nicely played by Angus Pamphilon and the lovely touch of comedy from Boris and Goran with Poppy Vigurs and Georgia Ajayi, a couple of amusing spies in their Holmes disguise – deerstalkers, capes and masks and the moveable tree ‘bush’. Another important cameo was Eddie Rinker as the wicked child catcher complete with his net, long black hair – perfect. So many of you to mention individually, and under Amanda’s direction you as a team achieved a first-class result. The Potts family were confident with Bobby Jeal portraying father with Harry Rumph and Alice Raskin enjoying their roles. Good work from the wicked pair of the piece, the excited birthday boy Baron, and Baroness who hated children. Good costumes, well maintained accents from Duke Kirton and Sophie Jones who both moved so very naturally together whilst putting across their musical numbers using great expressive facial asides adding to the comedy. Lucie Payne delighted as Truly with good diction and singing voice, very good with Jeremy and Jamima, fun scooter entry too. I know there was a second team and I’m quite sure they too worked equally as hard and gave good performances.

There are always many people working behind the scenes of a show so they too must be thanked and lastly what can I say about the totally magical vehicle Chitty herself. A brilliant job masterminded by Graham the Barber and Russ Kirton who spent many hours building her. She really was a star turn, complete with working lights and hooter!

A truly scrumptious afternoon.