Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang appropriate for kids? A Review

I actually don't remember the movie of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from when I first watched it. I know I did watch it because I can remember the car and the song - the song that is an ear worm for me right now.

They never keep still for a photo together.

Today I surprised Popps by letting her take the day off school and come along with Immy and me as media guests to see the production at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne

I was expecting good things from other reviews I had read but I was unprepared for how the kids might be.

Popps (who is now 7) was thrilled with every moment. There were many one liner comments that she clearly didn't get but it made no difference, to her it was light hearted, filled with surprises, the dancing and singing was so enthralling that all she has talked about since is how does she get to be one of the kids on stage. The darker moments didn't bother her as they have in previous films or productions and she could have easily watched more, she has already asked if there is any chance we could go back again.

The haircutting machine, another funny moment, Popps thought was hilarious.

Immy (who is now 4) enjoyed the show but struggled a bit with the length of time. What I loved watching from Immy was how she tried to analyse how the show was all happening. At one stage the eccentric inventor father, Mr Potts, is singing a lullaby to his children (Jemima and Jeremy) when Immy screamed out "I can see the moon, I can see the moon, is it really night time now?" I whispered that the moon was pretend. "Oh" she says "did they make it from paper?"  When the cast sang a ballad and looked out to the ceiling in the crowd she kept looking back there to see just what they were looking at, and who were they singing to. "Can they hear me?" she asked "Are they real?"

I am not going to go on about what happens in the story, you can find that anywhere but I will tell you that the show is filled with lots of surprises, from the bangs and fire when the car is presented to the way that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flies in certain scenes but also with snippets of humour thrown here, there and everywhere. Small moments but excellent just the same - the drive to the beach for a picnic is one of these moments to look out for.

Here kiddie widdie winkies...

Personally I really enjoyed the character of the Kid Catcher. In Vulgaria (where the 'c' word is not to be used)*  the kid catcher is a villain that had some of the small children watching lean in or on to the lap of the closest adult, but it is a small part and not a scene that was overly distressing.

For parents concerned about adult themes, this production is perfectly fine, there is one moment of kissing when Mr Potts and Ms Scrumptious decide to get married and there is the implied threat of violence when Grandpa might be turned into a sausage and when the children are taken away in the kid catchers wagon but none of these scenes is shown aggressively or inappropriately on stage.

The theatre supply cushions for the kids which fit nicely into their chairs to sit them up higher, Immy needed two and Popps was happy with one, these were very useful.

The theatre is just at the top of China Town, if you get there like we did with time to spare, walk down Little Bourke Street about 30 metres and there is a food hall (on the left) filled with Asian foods that are cheap, quick and easy for you and the kids, otherwise there is a cafe in the theatre with a basic range of items.  I also packed snacks for the show, it is a long performance so I do suggest packing your kids a snack box of some kind (or expect the usual high prices for food at such an event). There is an intermission for a quick toilet stop and stretching of legs.

In summary, I give Chitty Chitty Bang Bang a big high five and suggest if your children haven't made it to a production before, this could be a great one to start with, especially for children aged 5 and over, though younger will enjoy it if they are happy to sit there for that long.

*c is for children of course

Other than the image of my daughters all other images are from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to take my kids to see Chitty again. We saw it years ago on Broadway, when the kids were 2 and 3 and loved every second of it and the kids have been begging to see it again.


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