Manor Operatic Society are not ones to shy away from a challenge. After staging the biggest ever amateur production of Ghost the Musical back in 2015, they followed it up with the visually stunning Barnum in 2016 before dropping 50 gallons of water onto the City Hall stage last year for Singin’ in the Rain. So it may come as little surprise that when it was announced Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was to be made available to a limited number of amateur companies in 2018 Manor were first in the queue.
Chitty is probably one of the most technically challenging musicals made available to date that any amateur company can take on. You need a breakfast making machine, a sweet making machine, a mobile hairdressing contraption and a motorbike all within the first half hour of act 1. Add to that 3 cars including the star of the show, Chitty herself, and that would be enough to make any company go weak at the knees.
After attending their latest rehearsal on Sunday evening it was immediately clear that not only have Manor risen to the challenge of producing such a complex show, they stand to make this their most successful yet. Boasting the largest cast in a long time including a kids ensemble made up of members from Berry Academy of Dance and Sheffield Performing Arts this is a show not to be missed.
The Manor regulars are also back with Caractacus Potts being played by the multi-talented James Smith opposite Emma Flanagan as Truly Scrumptious. Robert Spink is swapping his seasonal dame costumes for desert camouflage as he plays Grandpa Potts. Simon Hance and Emily Hoyland take on the roles of The Baron and Baroness respectively and Chris Hanlon and Digory Holmes are set to excel as spies Boris and Goran. Liam Gordon also shows his evil side as the Childcatcher.
The human stars of the show Jeremy and Jemima Potts are shared between Joe Davies, George Henderson, Amy Nugent and Evie May Bradford, all four of which I saw last night perform with a confidence way beyond their years.
Richard Bradford and Linda Kelly have produced a show that I believe will be talked about by the people of Sheffield for a long time to come. The last comment, however should be reserved for Chitty herself. Will she float as the tide comes in or fly when chasing after the Vulgarians who kidnap Grandpa Potts? You’ll have to grab a ticket quick to find out!
The UK amateur premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opens at Sheffield City Hall on the 16th – 19th May. Tickets are flying out of the door, so be quick and get yours now from www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk before it’s too late.