'Fantasmaglorical machine' for production


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car builders Mark Brown and Ian Howden check out the finished centrepiece...
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car builders Mark Brown and Ian Howden check out the finished centrepiece. Photo: Mick Jensen
An impressive “fantasmaglorical machine”, built locally, will be the centrepiece of Mid Canterbury Children’s Theatre (MCCT) upcoming production Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

When deciding on what to do about the show’s main “character”, the MCCT production team decided that they didn’t want to use children as car parts, as other theatre groups had done, nor did they want to borrow a replica car. Instead, they set about building their own.

The life-size car on stage was the idea of show director Alice Sollis, who then convinced volunteer set builder Mark Brown from Brown & Co Builders that he might want to give it a go.

Mr Brown decided “it can’t be that hard” and started the process of building it.

For three nights a week over 10 weeks, he and a capable team of helpers that included Ian Howden, Tony Jessep and Peter Livingstone, toiled away.

Chitty doesn’t have a motor, but when your being driven on stage by child power, it’s not necessary anyway.

The car does, however, have working headlights and wings that appear like magic when needed, and was constructed from new and used materials.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be performed on October 4 (7pm), October 5 (5pm) and October 6 (2pm) at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre. Tickets, from $22.50, are available from the venue or ateventcentre.co.nz.






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