Chitty Chitty Bang Bang glided, sailed and crashed into Bristol Hippodrome for opening night as BLOC Productions took on one of the most well-known musicals in the world.

The story follows an eccentric want-to-be inventor, Caractacus Potts, as he goes about trying to fix an old ‘Grand Prix’ winning race car. His children, Jeremy and Jemima, convince him to buy the car from a scrap heap because of its magical properties but an evil Baron, Bomburst, seeks the old racer for himself. Potts then joins forces with Truly Scrumptious and the children's loving Grandpa to try and take down the evil Baron, his mischievous Baroness and their comical henchmen.

BLOC are an award winning amateur group from Bristol which makes the challenge of putting on this show, with over 28 children and 50 cast members in total a real challenge. You are thrown right into the action with around 40 of the cast on stage for the opening number and this doesn’t change, with the ensemble being used regularly to add colour and power to the songs throughout Act one and two.

All numbers that involved the large cast were well put together and well-choreographed, so full credit to Donna Podesta, however the vocals of the leads was sometimes drowned out by the powerful live band which was well conducted by Lauren Davis.

Specific cast members, in particular Lily Beacon and Jack Spencer as Jeremy and Jemima, Grace Macdonald as Truly Scrumptious and Chris Parslow as Grandpa Potts, all did well to replicate the iconic roles and bring energy to the show with accomplished performances and singing throughout.

Craig Rees-Cavendish as Caractacus Potts, Alex Milner and Peter Cottell as the spies/henchmen and Craig Sillick as the scary child catcher all produced confident performances, with Mr Sillick being particularly good at adding energy to the show in the second act.

This was opening night and maybe you could see a couple of small snags, a couple of dropped sticks during the famous Me Ol’ Bamboo and potentially one or two missed lines and dance moves, however the cast dealt with the occasion in front of a near sell out audience very well.

The lighting for the large part was brilliant, with smoke also being used to great effect during the show, although there were moments where lead characters were not in the light as much as they should be. There was also a couple of moments where the lighting was undone by poor blocking of characters on stage. The famous numbers from the musical such as the aforementioned Me Ol’ Bamboo, Doll on a Music Box and also the title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang all captured the magic of the show very well.

Special credit must go to Geraldine Gregory, who was the coach for the children in the production. The younger members of the cast performed exceptionally well and with great timing and co-ordination. A very good ensemble performance from all of them involved in the scenes toward the end of the production.

The ensemble as a whole performed very well, with fantastic vocals and acting throughout all of the numbers in the show. Personal favourites included: Roses of Success, Doll on a Music Box and the title song, which never fails to get feet tapping.

One thing that needs to always grab the attention in this show is the car itself. Whilst it isn’t the real ‘Chitty’, the ‘magic’ is certainly there for all to see. However it is hard to say too much without revealing some of the more poignant moments in the story and show.

This production was an accomplished one, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is not an easy musical to put on because of the way in which it remains a classic to this day, however Bloc Productions put on a very entertaining show that remained true to the principles of Ian Fleming’s musical. There were some mistakes and moments in which I expect changes will be made for the rest of the run, but Director Alex Turasiewicz and his team has brought together a wonderful performance from a very talented company.

Chiity Chitty Bang Bang is still at the Bristol Hippodrome until September 22, you can get tickets at

Moment of the show: Grace Macdonald performing Doll on a Music Box.