Chitty Chitty Bang Bang performers make a bang

Details and tech problems fall flat

Lucy Adame, The Freelancer
Truly pretends to be a doll and sings the song Doll on a Musicbox for the Baron.

Lucy Adame, Opinion Editor

David Carter’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang keeps the audience entertained and laughing, but there are many big things that can not be overlooked, thus bringing the level of performance down.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is about a weird inventor named Caractacus Potts, who invents an amazing flying car, which takes him and his family to Vulgaria, where the sinister but childish Baron Bomburst holds their kidnapped grandfather and captures the car. As the Baron has made children illegal in Vulgaria, Caractacus and company must stop at nothing to save their grandfather.

Caractacus Potts, the father of the two children Jeremy and Jemima, was played by Tristin Brown. Brown truly embodied this character. He connected well with the two children and the grandfather (Potts’s father). Throughout the whole production, Brown never lost the uplifting spirit of Caractacus, and made me feel like he really was his character.

Truly Scrumptious was played by Megan Hernandez. Truly is truly (see what I did there?) the sweetest character in the play. She is also very independent and stands up for what she believes in. Megan fit perfectly in this role. I was really impressed with her rendition of “Doll on a Music Box,” and her ability to act like a mechanized doll. The only element of her performance that I noted as negative was in some of the musical numbers, she sang with a little too much vibrato and her mic was noticeably set louder than the rest, but that was most likely a tech problem.

Baron Bomburst was played by Garrett Witzl. Baron is the “king” of Vulgaria (Bulgaria but vulgar). He is a buffoonish man and very greedy, but loves his Baroness with all his heart. Garrett carried out his role effortlessly. He was down right hilarious with his accent and really did seem like a child in a grown man’s body. He and Sabrina (the Baroness) complemented each other well and really played off each other.

Baroness Bomburst was played by Sabrina Astengo. The Baroness is a heartless woman who had children banished from Vulgaria, and will do anything for her Baron. Sabrina was a real standout in this production. Her character is very dark and mean, and boy did she sell that. During “The Bombie Samba” she danced so well, and had this look in her eyes that could most likely kill a man. Her performance was one of the best that night.

Jeremy Potts was played by Tomas Duran (odd dates) and Ty Alexander (even dates). Jeremy is a young boy, and son to Caractacus. Both Tomas and Ty were so charming and seemingly proud to be in this role. The only thing that I would say needed to be addressed more was the fact that one could have had more practice with his lines. It may have been the fact that their mics did not work very well, or that it was opening night but line learning is very important.

Jemima Potts was played by Annika Hernandez (odd dates) and Ashley Hansen (even dates). Jemima is a young girl, and daughter to Caractacus. Annika and Ashley were so darling in this role. Both girls gave their character life with their playfulness and sense of adventure.

Grandpa Potts was played by Ronan Walsh. Grandpa Potts is an old traveler and father to Caractacus. Ronan’s performance was like fresh pizza, simply amazing. This character is very quirky and very loving. I feel Ronan gave all he had into this role, and it paid off immensely. He had fun with this character and made it his own, and that truly made a huge difference.

Boris was played by Christopher Anaya (odd dates) and Nik Alexander (even dates). Boris is one of the two spies who is hired by the Baron to steal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the car). This role was very comical, and that is exactly how both boys played it.

Goran was played by Casper Carter (odd dates) and Evan Schreiber-Knaak (even dates). Goran is the other spy that the Baron hired to steal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This role coupled with Boris was the classic buffoonish spy duo.

The Child Catcher was played by Brian Bautista. Brian was the stand out in this production, not only because his acting was eerie and impeccable, but because of the fact that I could not recognize him. Brian, I feel, fully commits to any role that is thrown at him. It feels like he becomes a completely different person and illustrates that character to the absolute best it could be.

With every production comes the background and costumes. The backdrops were well made, and added much more immersion for the audience. The main prop that I knew would be very tricky to execute was the car itself. I will take my hat of to the designers and builders for that car. These people managed to make the car seem like it was flying, FLYING, almost effortlessly. Now the costumes were a little disappointing. Not because they did not look great, they did. They looked beautifully made, and really fit the time period that this story took place.  I just wish that the costumes were actually complete. In the scene “The Roses of Success” all the inventors had white jackets on, but only one of them had buttons. The rest were held together by a single safety pin and some had no pin at all. Not only was that distracting, but it then made me look at only the costumes for the rest of the play, and completely dismiss everything else.

This production was very heavy in choreography. It added much more fun to the story and made it much more lively. But, it is very disappointing when you see that many actors did not know the routine in which they were performing. Imagine there is a board with lights on it and each are blinking at the same moment, except for one. That single one is going to capture your attention, and make you forget about the rest that are in unison. That is exactly how I felt when watching many of the routines. I also felt that in some scenes, for example, in “Fun Fair” the ensemble seemed bored and not at all interested in what they were doing. Their facial expressions and energy were not consistent throughout the whole play. The choreography was well planned and if everyone knew it and commited fully to it, I am sure that it would have made the play go beyond average.

The most disappointing part of the whole production was the sound. Throughout the whole play, I could hear whispering from actors off stage. I also noticed that some actors’ mics were considerably louder than the rest of the cast. For example, for more than half the play, I could not hear the children, and I was in front. But, I could clearly hear Megan and Tristan with no problem.

Overall, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was very entertaining, and a wonderful story. If those few knacks where straightened out, this production would be over the moon.