Well, I guess what first needs to be said is. Welcome to The VI Critic! I will be posting reviews from shows I go and see from local theatre to London’s West End! But first I need to address the elephant in the room. As many of you can see from the title and bio of this blog is that I am visually impaired. I have a condition call Retinopathy of Prematurity or more commonly know as ROP. In basic simple terms, I have no vision in my right eye at all, and very little vision in my left. I have been like it all my life, but never get it in my way! This post is probably going to be a little extra long, so you have been warned. But it will not be this long normally!
I’ve always had a love for musical theatre, so I thought I would start reviewing shows, but with a slight twist. So I guess I’d better get on with reviewing my first ever show on this blog.
I recently got the chance to go and see ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ a show adaption from the 1968 film. Featuring TV presenter and comedian Jason Manford as Professor Potts and TV actress Michelle Collins as The Baroness of Vulgaria, at The Cliffs Pavilion Palace in Southend. This particular performance was not a Audio Described performance, but it did not take away the brilliance and splendor of the whole show.
I found the first half of the show to flyby like there was no tomorrow, and I thought at the time I might have been too quick? But looking back on it, the length of the first half was probably the right amount of time. The transitions from one scene to another to be a little too quick. As a audience member I like transitions from scene to scene to be a least a minute or to so you can take in what you’ve just seen and understand the story. The Child Catcher played by Martin Kemp I thought had very little to do with story and only appeared three times throughout the whole show, which I felt was a real shame, but played the role very well. I feel they could have done a lot more with this character. But I got goose bumps every time he came on stage.
The second half of the show was a little longer and was I felt at the right tempo. There were some scenes that were not in the film which I didn’t understand and made very little sense. For example, there is this one particular scene where at the King’s birthday party his wife and Queen of Vulgaria surprises him with a group of Mexican dancers in bright multicoloured costumes as the party entertainment. I found this very confusing and very hard to understand why they would put this type of scene in the show.
All the acting by the whole cast I found outstanding, but the two child actors who played Jeremy and Jemima Potts were incredible!! The actress who played Jemima, I read later in programme that this show was her first professional performance. I remember going home thinking: “how has this girl not been seen I picked up sooner!” The vocal performances of Jason and Michelle was exceptional especially Michelle’s performance. The lighting and sound throughout the show fitted every single scene and did not look wrong in anyway, shape or form.
Anyone who is looking or is thinking of going to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I would highly recommend it, you will certainly get your tickets worth out of it.
Coming from a more Visually Impaired angle, the staff were really help in find me to my seat, they make sure I did have to climb so many stairs, they came to me during the interval and asked if I needed any help, support or if I needed anything. But even better, I got to meet some members of the cast at the end of the show at the stage door. They were all very friendly and took there time with me and didn’t rush me. They made me feel that they wanted me there and I did not rush of and told me that they need to go. They signed my programme and took photos with, and generally made me feel liked a VIP! Would recommend the theatre and looking forward to see future productions there.
Please feel free to leave comments on what you thought of this first post. I would be interested to read the feedback everyone has. Until next time!