Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is coming to the Capitol Theatre next week

The Capitol’s Terry Brennan has been a long-time fan of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so when Nelson Youth Theatre announced it as their next show the veteran stage manager already knew a lot was going to rely on getting the right vehicle.

In other words: they needed a kickass car.

“There’s a Nelson actor who did a few shows with us, Sam Gerlitz, he’s been going to engineering school and he wanted to practice his skills,” Brennan told the Star.

“We knew the car had to be a substantially built thing, because so much relied on it. There wasn’t going to be much room for other set pieces, people need to sit in it. Then Sam approached our director Geoff Burns and right away we knew it was the right way to go.”

Gerlitz designed the car on his computer, then constructed it out of plywood — a task that involved some complex angles and some creative woodworking.

He then delivered the shell to the theatre.

“So Sam was the structural engineer, then once he was finished we had a parent, Tanya Thayer, who did all the dressing on the car. She’s done a bunch of stuff with Waldorf plays and has discovered she loves the creative part of putting the set together.”

She upholstered the interior, gave it a paint job and threw in some creative flourishes all her own. Seeing it on stage now, being easily maneuvered around by the actors, Brennan believes the piece will go a long way towards convincing audiences they’re seeing a real flying machine.

“The car does not actually fly, there’s a lot of magic and imagination involved there,” Brennan said.

The production stars familiar faces Quinn Barron and Emma Chart, alongside a multi-aged cast that includes Emerson Kelly and Lisa Bruckmeier, under the direction of Burns and the musical direction of Allison Girvan.

It was choreographed by Lynette Lightfoot.

“The stage play is different than the movie, which is always interesting when people have only seen the movie. I find the stage play is often different enough that people experience new stuff they haven’t before. I find the music is much more predominant.”

His favourite number so far is “Toot Sweets,” which is performed by Barron.

“These kids, this cast is incredible. They’ve put this together in three weeks, from not knowing the show to presenting a great version of it. We’re now 13 days in and to see how far they’ve come is so inspiring.”

The show starts on Thursday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. and runs nightly until the 29th. There will be 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Nelson Star