Emilie Moon Claire Haddleton, Theatre Correspondents

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Being in a theatre on one of the hottest nights of the year was a real challenge for the audience and we can only imagine how the actors must have felt in their costumes.

But we are SO glad we were there! This was an opening night triumph for HOPS in their quite superb production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Based on the 1968 film, we were transported into the world of Caractacus Potts (confidently played by Richard Hawley) and his two young children Jemima and Jeremy. What a talent the paring of Eva Lofthouse and Lucas MacLeod are; both very natural actors with mature voices for ones so young.

The whole cast had a real connection on the stage leading us to believe that they feel like one big family working together and enjoying every moment of their performance. If we had closed our eyes, Truly Scrumptious could have been played by Julie Andrews (sounding just like her!); Kate Griffiths delivered a truly flawless performance as the leading lady and set the bar high.

There was comedy genius from Rohan Green and Rob Hastings as the Vulgarian spies and Georgie Gladwin and Chris Cowling as the Baron and Baroness provided yet more hilarious comic relief (with numerous double entendres) throughout. The child catcher (Jack Moran) was dark and suitably sinister and Dan Stanford as the Toymaker was another local talent; what a brilliant accent!

There were some really side-splitting scenes, our favourite being the ancient inventors, singing and limping decrepitly to The Roses of Success.

We couldn’t leave a review without mentioning Gavin Mill’s performance as Grandpa Potts and Craig Kirby as Lord Scrumptious. Both gave very strong performances and had great stage presence. The ensemble boasted a wonderful sound, colourful costumes and very neat chorography; their rendition of Me Ol’ Bamboo was an explosion of fun.

The ‘Yellow Team’ of children were all enthusiastic young actors with bright futures ahead of them; we are sure the ‘Red Team’ will be just as wonderful in their performances.

The set was clever and the live band very professional. We would go as far as to say that this was like the West End coming to Harrogate!

Bravo HOPS!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang continues at Harrogate Theatre until Saturday June 17th