Skip to main content Skip to footer site map


Corinne Fischer, Dane Stokinger, Emily Cawley, and
Alex Silva in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Photo credit: Alabastro Photography

As a kid I remember being absolutely thrilled when the stars would align and something wonderful would come on to the afternoon movie like "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" or "The Wizard of Oz" or the magical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". Well that fantasmagorical, fuel burning oracle is back and on stage at Seattle Children's Theatre and it's just as magical as ever. And before you ask, yes, the car flies.

Based on the 1968 movie and of course the book by Ian Fleming (yes, that Ian Fleming of James Bond fame) we meet struggling inventor Caractacus Potts (Dane Stokinger) and his two kids Jeremy and Jemima (Alex Silva and Corinne Fischer for the performance I saw). The three are barely able to make ends meet but they're happy along with their eccentric Grandpa (Robert Shampain) and become even happier when they meet the lovely Truly Scrumptious (Emily Cawley) who just happens to be the daughter to the wealthy candy maker Lord Scrumptious (also played by Shampain). And while this is of course a perfect set up for romance between Caractacus and Truly, that will have to wait as Caractacus has cobbled together an amazing car that has caught the attention of the evil Vulgarians, the Baron and Baroness Bomburst (Richard Gray and Julie Briskman). So when the Vulgarians kidnap Grandpa thinking he made the car, our heroes must take Chitty to Vulgaria to try and rescue him.

Many of the same songs from the movie and a few new ones from the Broadway staging are still here although not all of them. I'm assuming some were cut for time to play at SCT and while I understand the cuts I do miss the Baron and Baroness singing "Chu-chi Face" which was always my favorite as a kid. But as I said, the magic is still there including some wonderful effects from Christopher Reay that put the car "on the water" and of course the glorious moment they made the car fly.

Julie Briskman and Richard Gray in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Photo credit: Alabastro Photography

The cast is superb. Silva and Fischer are adorable as the precocious Potts children and have excellent voices. Stokinger is delightfully goofy as their loving father and the relationship between him and Cawley is lovely. Shampain is hilarious as both Grandpa and Lord Scrumptious and each of his characters are so individual that I didn't even realize they were the same actor until I was writing this. And I have to mention Basil Harris and Chris Ensweiler as the two absolutely hysterical Vulgarian spies. But as much as I loved everyone in the cast it was Gray and Briskman who walked off with every scene we were lucky enough to have them in. Anyone who's seen them already knows that they are two of the most gifted character actors in town and so when you couple that with the fact that it looks as though they are having a blast playing these two outrageous baddies, that you cannot help but love them (even though they're evil).

Sure I missed a little more of the setup and songs from the original movie and Broadway staging but that doesn't detract from the magic that director Linda J. Hartzell and the folks at Seattle Children's Theatre brought to that stage. And so with my three letter rating system I give them a truly scrumptious YAY. It's just a magical ride through the clouds aboard a favorite classic.

"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" performs at Seattle Children's Theatre through December 27th. For tickets or information contact the Seattle Children's Theatre box office at 206-441-3322 or visit them online at

Village Theatre Announces 2023-2024 Season Photo
Under new leadership, Village Theatre has announced their 2023-2024 season, which features a collection of extraordinary musicals and plays that will bring exquisite music, unforgettable stories, and powerful theatricality to Village’s venues in both Issaquah and Everett, Washington.

MEET ME AT DAWN at 18th and Union Photo
Special Offer: West Coast Premiere of Meet Me at Dawn, by Zinnie Harris

SWEENEY TODD & More Lead Seattles April 2023 Top Picks Photo
Seattle is never lacking outstanding theatre, whether epic Broadway shows, engrossing dramas or bold fringe offerings. BroadwayWorld is rounding up our top recommended theatre every month. April 2023's top picks include Sweeney Todd, How I Learned What I Learned, and more.

Seattle Opera Announces Nw CFO and COO Appointments Photo
General Director Christina Scheppelmann has appointed two executive positions, naming Marissa Betz-Zall Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Angela Gist Chief Operations Officer (COO). Betz-Zall and Gist, who start in their roles in March 2023, succeed Jane Repensek, who had served as COO/CFO since 2017.

From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)

Review: BECOMING OTHELLO: A BLACK GIRL'S JOURNEY at Seattle Shakespeare CompanyReview: BECOMING OTHELLO: A BLACK GIRL'S JOURNEY at Seattle Shakespeare Company
January 7, 2023

Dear Readers, you know I find one person shows to be problematic. Often, they get into maudlin territories and end up being someone else’s therapy on stage. So, I was dubious when Seattle Shakespeare Company announced Debra Ann Byrd’s one woman show “Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey” to start off their 2023. As Byrd stepped onto stage at the Center Theatre, I took it as a good sign that we didn’t get the cliché, “Oh, I didn’t see you there” as if we’d intruded on her private moments. Instead, we got not words but song and movement offering up prayers to her ancestors who got her to where she is today. And then what followed was 90 minutes of a raw, well-paced, well-constructed look into this amazing woman who broke down the barriers erected in front of her by centuries of selfish oppression. Also, what followed was a hell of a way to start off 2023.

January 6, 2023

Dear Readers, I don’t need to tell you, it’s been a crazy year. Many theaters just coming back to life or ramping up again post pandemic. But even with all the chaos, Seattle still comes up with some amazing shows from theaters large and small. Here’s a list of my personal picks for outstanding shows and performers from the past year, 2022.

Review: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at The Paramount TheatreReview: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at The Paramount Theatre
December 17, 2022

More. That, Dear Readers, is the watchword the creators of the stage adaption of the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film, “Moulin Rouge!”, subscribed to. They threw in more sparkle wherever they could in this stage musical, currently playing at the Paramount. Unfortunately, they also threw in more songs, more lights, and certainly more bass in this spectacle that loses the heart and charm of the original in favor of assaulting the audience’s senses.

Review: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre WorksReview: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre Works
December 4, 2022

Dear Readers, we all know that travelling during the holidays can be a nightmare. Delayed flights, family drama, not to mention dealing with others attempting their own travels. But as frustrating as it can be, what’s not frustrating is the delightful cast of characters created by Maggie Lee in her play, “The Flight Before Xmas”. A wonderful and heartfelt diversion from the usual holiday fare currently playing at West of Lenin from Macha Theatre Works.

Review: MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL at The Seattle RepReview: MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL at The Seattle Rep
December 1, 2022

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is an enduring classic. We all know this. It’s never been out of publication since its first publishing in 1843. It has spawned numerous movie, TV, and stage adaptations from the serious to the Muppets. Now the Seattle Rep has come along with a World Premiere of Samantha Silva’s “Mr. Dickens and His Carol”, based on her book of the same name. Taking a supposed look at the creation of this classic tale, this historical fiction is heavy on the fiction and light on the history, cutting a wide swath with its poetic license about the author and turning him into a pompous buffoon in a story and a production in desperate need of an editor.