Chitty Chitty car flies into Centrestage

Centrestage’s Chitty Chitty cast includes, clockwise, from left, Matthew McMurray (Jeremy Potts), Emma Carr (Truly Scrumptious), Lucy Thorne (Jemima Potts), Martin Rhodes (Caractacus Potts), Annabel Rhodes (Jemima Potts) and Lachlan Fairhill (Jeremy Potts

A musical about a magical flying car has required the creative team at Centrestage Theatre to pull out all the stops.

Director Cherie Perrow says it’s the first time that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang been produced in a New Zealand theatre and she wanted to make sure it is true to people’s fond memories of the 1968 movie starring Dick Van Dyke.

The movie was based on the only children’s book written by Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond series.

Cherie says the cast brings the well-known characters and songs to life and as the story is about a magical car, the elephant in the room has been the task of making a car appear to fly.

That challenge is in the hands of a team that includes technical director Scott Gaddes – who will call upon LED screen images, lighting and special effects – and set builder Chris Hogan.

The team was lucky enough to discover that one of the people who helped create the original car for the movie, James Williams, now lives on the Hibiscus Coast.

Cherie says James met the Centrestage team and explained the process that was involved in making the original car. He also gave Craig some recommendations as to how he could go about making the car move and appear to fly on a stage.

The cast of more than 40 actors includes young children – there are two separate casts for the children’s roles, to make the demanding number of 17 shows easier to achieve.

The roles of father and daughter Caractacis Potts and Jemima are made easier for local actors Martin and Annabel Rhodes by the fact that they are actually father and daughter.

Quoting from the film, Cherie says she invites the audience to “observe and be prepared to be amazed”.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is on at Centrestage Theatre, Centreway Road, Orewa from October 28–November 18. Tickets from www.centrestagetheatre.co.nz, at the theatre box office, or by phoning 426 7282.


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