Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

What wonderful entertainment:  adventure, eccentric characters, enterprising children, baddies, a little romance and a car that swims and flies!    It’s all in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Babirra’s production with a total cast of 37 plus a few dogs as well as 14 in the orchestra delivered in spades.

It’s based on a book by Ian Fleming that was subsequently made into a movie.  The car of course has James Bond-like features!

All the cast gave strong performances, and while it’s a bit unfair to single out Michelle Eddington as Truly Scrumptious (because the part itself invites admiration!), I was amazed to read in the program that apart from school productions (and a life long love for music),  this appears to have been her first major role!    And everything else came together, too:   the movement of the car (enhanced by the bold use of projection), the choreography, the costumes, the sets and a polished finale.



Of course, there are layers and layers of interpretations and deeper meanings in  Shakespeare’s text, but it’s been so long since I last saw Macbeth (bearing in mind that the first time I encountered Macbeth was at school), I had to re-absorb MTC’s production at a fairly superficial level.    Hence I sometimes missed the more subtle twists and turns in this rather blood-thirsty production, but even so, the big picture is clear enough!

The fascination of watching people do something that they know to be wrong, seeing them come unstuck, with the added spice of unlikely premonitions, is a theme that can be applied across the ages, and here the sets, props and costumes are very contemporary.

I thought it worked quite well for the most part, although I’m still wondering about the opening scene of the witches meeting in a Scottish style bus shelter!    On the other hand, there are lines that are familiar;  who can ever forget “Double, double toil and trouble;   Fire burn and caldron bubble”?

However, the Fairfax review struggled with aspects of the production, especially the cuts in the dialogue to achieve a running time of just under two hours (imagine, a Shakespeare play with no interval!).   The News Corp review   made some interesting points, too.

 Just the same, Shakespeare’s dialogue, the strength of the themes and the quality of the acting made this a fascinating evening (and an improvement on MTC’s Queen Lear a few years ago).

Night Life

We went to the Night Life exhibition being put on by the National Trust at Ripponlea.     It showcases evening wear (almost exclusively women’s)  from the early 1920s – featuring lots of beads and glitter – to the “Moderne” style of the 30s (with a greater focus on prints).

It also includes  the works of some contemporary Melbourne  designers who view the era through modern eyes.

Train driving

It was interesting to see a recruitment advertisement a week or so back for trainee train drivers in a Sunday newspaper!   I suppose Metro are seeking to reach a wide audience, to get that “diversity” they say they’re seeking.

However, I assume that this is more on the basis of gender, rather than age!    And there might be issues regarding my sight.  So it wouldn’t be any use me applying!

Cavalcade of Transport mural

The June issue of Royalauto contains an article (also here) about a campaign to find a new home for Harold Freedman’s Cavalcade of Transport mural. The article sparked my interest, as we had visited the Freedman exhibition at Ballarat.

The mural is in the Spencer Street shopping complex, right at the north end.   The whole place is a bit of a barn, but so far as I’m aware, this was the case even when the mural was placed in its present location in 2007.   However it seems that since then the retail mix has changed and now the mural is a mere backdrop in the “Tk-Maxx” store, and very hard to see clearly.  There are light fittings and air-conditioning ducts all over the place.   It’s also visible from inside the Harris Scarfe store, but the visibility is even worse.

One possibility for a new home is said to be the Melbourne Convention Centre.

The Royalauto article states that the mural is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, but the owner (Public Transport Victoria) seems to be waiting for others to suggest a new location, and to presumably to pay the costs involved in any relocation!


We went to Nova Music Theatre’s production of Godspell.  A 17-member cast gave an impressive performance.  Interestingly, I see that the usual cast size is 10, but of course a non-professional company has more flexibility in this regard in that they can “afford”  a larger cast!

It’s a rock musical, so the orchestra consists of keyboards, guitars and percussion.

For some reason, I’ve never previously seen Godspell, so its approach was new to me.   It’s basically a sequence of Biblical parables, mostly from Matthew, but three from Luke.  I can certainly understand how it is that its treatment of the Passion of Christ, which after all is at the core of the Christian belief, is controversial, especially in that there is no obvious Resurrection present.   This of course is only one of the numerous departures from the Biblical “script”.  The costumes (traditionally “hippie garb”), too, have apparently been the subject of comment.

I didn’t allow these issues to interfere with my enjoyment of the show, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that it represents what Christianity is all about. Continue reading “Godspell”