Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fabulously Fun Review: The Alliance Theatre Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Last weekend was the opening weekend for The Alliance Theatre's summer production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We went on opening night, July 24th, to see my daughter in her very first play! Caitlyn is part of the Summer Stars ensemble and is in eleven scenes. She had to audition in the Spring for the Summer Stars program which provides theatrical training to children and teens, who are aspiring to have a career in theater.

I have taken my kids to see previous Alliance Theatre productions and have always been very impressed with the level of professionalism of each show. I did not know the story line of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang so I was in for a special treat when I arrived at the theater opening night!

The show runs for 2.5 hours, including intermission. Act 1 is the longest but keeps you entertained with the introduction of characters, singing, dancing, and the development of the story line. Since I was not familiar with the story, I had to pay extra attention to the character and plot development. Act 11 moves very quickly, as it is filled with more action than story telling and fun scenes that leave you smiling and laughing as the final act curtain is being drawn.

The show is filled with talented performers of all ages! There is something for everyone to enjoy in this play! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is amazing with its attention to detail to the costumes and set design, as well as, perfectly timed choreography. I am always impressed with The Alliance Theatre's ability to find authentic costumes for all of the cast members. Creativity in lighting and props was key in creating an intriguing set and different stage scenes to keep the audience engaged. An extra special prop was especially made for this production and it is an amazing feat! I won't spoil the surprise but I'm certain you will know which prop when it makes its first appearance on the stage during Act 1! My daughter's favorite scene is the underground tunnel scene in Act 11. It is a spectacular mix of lightening, costumes, set design to create a very believable scene because of the attention to detail! The Alliance Theatre is a non profit, volunteer based, community theatre for all ages that takes the extra mile with ensuring each one of their productions meets high standards so that the audience has a positive theatre experience.

One of my favorite scenes during the first act is when the audience is introduced to the two Vulgarian spies, Boris and Goran, played by Mike Cash and Spencer Boyd. From the first moment they are on the stage until the last scene, they provide comic relief to the audience and are ridiculously silly! The boy girl twins, Jeremy and Jemima, played by Steven Labovitch and Lourdes Navarro, are fabulous in their roles and are talented singers. Mr. Potts and Truly Scumptious, played by Rich Amanda and McKensey Struzik, develop a love relationship throughout the play that is delicately portrayed through songs and dialogue. Truly solo's show off her incredible talent and her performance was flawless. She is an amazing role model for aspiring actress's, such as my daughter!

From left: Lourdes Navarro, Mike Baker Jr. and Steven Labovitch sing a song from the show. Photo Courtesy of Maggie Swan
The Vulgarian Barron and Baroness, played by Joey Olson and Cat Arnold, are perfectly paired together and have mastered their character development. Every scene with them was fun, witty and a delight to watch! Another over the top character to watch for is the Child Catcher, played by Ellen Woodstock. When she makes her entrance during Act 11, she captivates the crowd with the combination of her performance, costume and make up, as the audience is left contemplating the absurdity of having a child catcher in a country (Vulgeria)  that banishes children.

All of the characters in The Alliance Theatre Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are well portrayed and deliver their lines effortlessly. The featured dancers and ensemble cast, including the Summer Stars, complete the production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as they work together with "Teamwork" to create an amazing production that captivates the audience!

The cast of The Alliance Theatre Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The Alliance Theatre Chitty Chitty Bang Bang production continues this weekend with performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm at Chantilly High School in Chantilly, VA. You can buy your tickets here!

I will be attending the last performance on Sunday and most likely will shed a tear or two as I see my daughter on the big stage again with a smile that beams so brightly! She has immensely enjoyed being a part of this production. The dedication of all the performers truly shines throughout the show! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! This past week, when my daughter was practicing the tune of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I'd often join her! Maybe next summer, I'll try out too!

Peace, Love and Singing,

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