|Elizabeth Campbell, Benjamin Campbell, Chad Campbell, and Kim Cooper Schmidt|
photo: Patty Torrilhon
Click here for more information on this production that runs through September 18th.
"While he may be best known for his creation of the iconic character of James Bond, Ian Fleming also created another instantly recognizable character in the magical, high-flying car "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." In 1968, Fleming's 1964 children's novel about a British inventor who retrofits a Grand Prix roadster became the flashy big screen musical adventure film of the same name with the help of imaginative co-screenwriter Roald Dahl and an infectious score from the award-winning Mary Poppins composers Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman...Fountain Hills Theater's production features a charming, humorous and talented cast, solid direction, and simple yet imaginative creative elements including a superb version of "Chitty" and some fun flying sequences. It's a magical, humorous and entertaining experience for children of all ages....Widowed, down on his luck, father of two, inventor Caractacus Potts turns a broken down champion car into a vehicle for his children. When the man-boy, toy loving, Vulgarian Baron Bomburst hears of the special car he wants it for his own so he sends his trusted spies Boris and Goran to get the car, one way or another. The Potts family, along with the delightful Truly Scrumptious who takes a shine to Caractacus, finds Chitty's special abilities are sorely needed when they are pulled into a scary, thrilling, fun-filled adventure...the infectious Sherman brothers tunes are some that you'll find yourself humming for days. (the) stage adaptation ... doesn't clear up some of the somewhat confusing parts of the plot, so you may be slightly confused, especially in the opening sequence. But just sit back and let the enjoyable score and fun characters and crazy story entertain you. Director Peter J. Hill, who also does an excellent job as Grandpa Potts, exhibits fine directorial choices in playing up the fun, humorous elements of the story and not making the scarier moments too terrifying. He derives fine performances from the entire cast and has wisely cast Chad Campbell as the quirky inventor Caractacus along with Campbell's two children, Benjamin and Elizabeth, as Jeremy and Jemima Potts. While Chad brings a lot of charm and joyfulness to the role, along with a firm grip on his character and a lovely singing voice, it is the endearing performance of his children and the realistic connection they have that make the threesome soar. Kim Cooper Schmidt is equally good as Truly Scrumptious. She projects the right air of a prim and proper, upper-class English woman...Schmidt's singing voice is clear and lovely and her solo "Lovely Lonely Man" is full of poignancy and charm. Patrick Russo and Roger Prenger are hilarious as the bumbling Vulgarian spies...Even on Fountain Hills' fairly small stage the larger than life adventures of the Potts family and their beloved flying car will still tug at your heart and put a smile on your face. With a gifted cast, fun creative elements, and solid direction, the end result is a truly scrumptious show. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)