Stomp, which originated in Brighton in 1991, has toured all over the world but only started its first West End run this past autumn, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 28 September 2002 (previews from 24 September). It had been up to 8 February 2003 but has now added a further 16 weeks, taking it up to 31 May 2003.
Stomp transforms the junk and clutter of urban life into a source of rhythm and dance. In 100 minutes of pure theatricality, a cast of eight performers use boots, bins, garbage, zippo lighters, plumbers' plungers and everything including the kitchen sink to hammer out a symphony.
Over at the London Palladium, the £6.2 million Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with its famous flying car, premiered to great fanfare - and an £8 million box office advance - on 16 April 2002 (previews from 19 March), and had been booking up to 15 March 2003. It's now extended by six months to 27 September 2003.
The stage musical is based on the famous 1968 children's film with Dick Van Dyke. It stars Michael Ball as the Van Dyke character, madcap inventor and widow Caractacus Potts, who restores an old car with the help of his two children and friend Truly Scumptious, but much to the chagrin of the evil Bombursts from Vulgaria. The cast also currently includes Anton Rodgers, Brian Blessed, Nichola McAuliffe, Paul O'Grady, Edward Petherbridge and Emma Williams.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is adapted by Jeremy Sams with original music by the Sherman brothers, directed by RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, choreographed by Gillian Lynne and designed by Anthony Ward, with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Andrew Bruce, orchestrations and dance arrangements by Chris Walker, and musical direction and supervision by Robert Scott. The original children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was written by Ian Fleming.
- by Terri Paddock