ON CENTRE STAGE
with Douglas Kennedy.
A STAR IS BOURNE!
Stand-up comic, award-winning actor and TV host, Shane Bourne, will be flying high as the comic villain, Baron Bomburst, in the Brisbane run of the stage version of the musical movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Bourne, who replaces TV’s Spicks and Specks star Alan Brough, will play the over-the-top self-centred Bomburst for both the Perth and Brisbane seasons.
The all-rounder, who was seen on TV in the 1980s in the Aussie version of the British sit-com Are You Being Served? And later Hey, Hey It’s Saturday, has stretched himself in recent years to play in TV dramas such as City Homicide and the ABC series MDA, as well as stage dramas such as Twelve Angry Men.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang began life in 1964 as a children’s book from the pen of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, who wrote Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang The Magic Car for his son Caspar while recovering from a heart attack.
Fleming never saw the story in print as he suffered from a fatal heart attack two months before the book was published, on August 12, 1964, which also tragically happened to be his son’s 12 birthday.
In 1968, the story was adapted for the big screen with a script co-written by Roald Dahl and a musical score from the Sherman brothers (Richard M. and Robert B.) who composed the Oscar-winning songs for Mary Poppins.
Basically, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fast moving action- packed yarn featuring a magical flying car, gangsters, gun runners, an eccentric inventor, Caractacus Potts, and his two children Jemima and Jeremy, alongside Truly Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts, who are all trying to outwit the dastardly Bomburst and the evil Child Catcher.
Some interesting facts from the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie.
. The lead roles were offered to both Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews in a bid to re-unite them after the success of the 1964 Oscar-winning Mary Poppins.
. While Van Dyke accepted, Andrews rejected the offer because she considered it too close to Poppins
. The role of Bomburst in the movie went to Gert Frobe who played Auric Goldfinger in the Bond movie Goldfinger.
. Chitty Chitty Band Bang’s producer was Albert R. Broccoli, nicknamed Cubby, who co-produced the Bond films.
. The title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was nominated, but never won, an Oscar in 1969. (That went to Windmills of Your Mind from The Thomas Crown Affair).
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang came to the musical stage in 2002 at the West End’s London Palladium with six new songs from the Sherman brothers and one of the most lavish props in the history of British musical theatre.
The show ran for three and a half years at the Palladium, breaking box office records, making 70 million pounds and winning three Olivier Awards, but did less well on Broadway.
When Chitty Chitty first went to Broadway in 2005 it ran for only 34 previews and 285 performances despite winning five Tonys.
However, subsequent UK and US national tours fared better before the show came to Australia and premiered at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in November 2012.
In addition to Bourne, the Brisbane cast will include Rachael Beck and David Hobson under the direction of Roger Hodman with choreography by Dana Jolly and the musical direction of Peter Casey.
The Australian production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang features all of the songs from the original film, written by the Sherman Brothers, and features a full company of more than 70 (including eight dogs).
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, will be at QPAC from November, 2013, and tickets are on sale now via qpac.com.au or 136 246.