Levin Little Theatre has tapped into an era of television musical magic by bringing the old family classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to life on stage.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is from that famous era of musicals - like The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins - that never grow old and can be enjoyed by all generations.
Director Linda Buckley said Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had been on the theatre's bucket list for some time. After watching it performed in Masterton last year, plans were put in place to borrow some of the props.
That included transporting one of the main characters - the car itself - to Levin and it was given some extra bodywork too by Buckley's husband Ian, a mechanic by trade.
Buckley said casting for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was originally done last year and it was to have taken the stage at Christmas, although it was postponed due to Covid-19.
The cast had to then pick it up again in April, albeit with a few changes due to other commitments. The end result was a performance so polished it was hard to distinguish between stage and screen.
A feature of the production was the involvement of the talented Harrington family. Parents Leigh and Joanna played Goran and Truly Scrumptious, while children Miles, Hemi, Abi and Ariana all played parts too.
Buckley said it was great to think that families could participate in something like a musical together, and there were other family connections throughout the cast and ensemble.
"I think that's really cool. It's a family show," she said.
There was a major hiccup just three weeks out from opening night though. Lead actor William Gilbert, who plays Caractacus Potts, dislocated his knee cap during rehearsal.
The show must go on. Gilbert introduced a walking stick as a prop, which suits his character anyway, and has the knee braced each night before taking the stage although it still takes a big effort for him to get in and out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The show also has bracketed young actors for some leading roles, which served to give promising young talent a chance to experience the centre stage.
Abi Harrington and Lavara Makutu were sharing the role of Jemima Potts and Hemi Warrington and Imogen Williamson were sharing the role of Jeremy Potts, doing four nights apiece.
Buckley said the cast and crew had put in a huge amount of preparation for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which involved a lot of repetition and rehearsal.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a musical adventure centred around a car that flies through the air and can sail on the sea.
It is based on the 1968 film version of Ian Fleming's children's book. The eccentric inventor, Caractacus Potts, sets about restoring an old race car with the help of his children, Jeremy and Jemima.
They soon discover the car is magic and can float and fly. Trouble starts when the evil Baron Bomburst wants the car for himself.
The family joins forces with Truly Scrumptious to outwit a group of villains led by the Baron and Baroness and their henchman the Child Catcher.
And just like all wholesome family musicals, it has a happy ending.
The opening weekend played to a good crowd with a full house for the Sunday matinee performance.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang continues at Levin Little Theatre this weekend with Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows, and next weekend with a Friday and Saturday night show only.