Banging the drum for an epic Peterborough production

PODS bring Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to The Cresset from October 22-26
PODS bring Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to The Cresset from October 22-26

As far as am dram productions in Peterborough are concerned, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, brought to the stage by Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society last night, was Truly (pun intended) epic!

I would go as far as to say that of up against any production I have seen on The Cresset stage in the last decade this was epic. It was that good.

The sets are stunning, the props are amazing - there was a horn-honking, lights-flashing, flying (sort of) car for goodness sakes - and the costumes lavish.

Pods are not known for resting on their laurels - their roster of previous shows and the awards they have garnered is testimony to that. But it is one thing digging deep - both financially (and this show cost a lot) and into the pool of behind-the-scenes talent to get all of this on stage, on time - and another having the performers talented enough to pull it off.

No, they were pretty epic too.

My one complaint would be where to start!

I did wonder during the opening whether Charlie Villamayor Corbitt could carry the pivotal role of Caractacus Potts, but he just got better and better.

A very mature performance for one so young (he is still in his teens). Charlie might be one for the future but showed he is also for the now. He has a strong voice which he used to good effect, he captured the essence of the character perfectly and had a great on-stage chemistry with “his children” Jeremy and Jemima - the cute and very talented Alexander Dawkins and Elsa Laing.

Hannah Joy Ogden, as Truly Scrumptious, fitted in nicely with the Potts family, topped off with a Calvin Lawrence cameo as the dotty Grandpa Potts.

The singing throughout was terrific and the choreography flawless. The big ensemble song and dance numbers - Toot Sweets, Me Ol’ Bamboo and The Bombie Samba -were spectacular.

There was no shortage of laughs either, with not one but two great double acts. The spies (Harvey Jones and Mark Harris), and the Baron (Philip Booty) and Baroness (Amanda Villamayor) combinations showed some great timing and natural comedic flair.

The music from MD Steve Hession and his band was impeccable and the children’s cast - who had to wait until act 2 to get on - made the most of it, and even got to give the Childcatcher (a villainous cameo from George Lacey) his comeuppance.

You can see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at The Cresset until Saturday.