To bring the 1968 British musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to life on stage, the Alhambra Theatre and Dining’s design team got especially creative. Set designer Ian Black had to create a vehicle that would not only drive, but fly and float as well. Jax Mag talked with Black about the car, though he couldn’t share how it works—it’s all part of the magic, which you can see for yourself June 13-July 29.
Is the show at the Alhambra much different from the movie with which people are familiar?
The musical follows the same story arc of the classic film. The main difference between the two is, as with any adaptation from film to stage, you have to get creative with locations. And there's a lot of them in this show.
So, about the car...
I've worked at the Alhambra for five years now and this car is by far the most ambitious project we have ever attempted. One of the biggest challenges has been trying to build a car that fits in our intimate little theatre, but still lives up to the expectations of an audience that is already familiar with what the car should look like and what she should do.
Had you ever built something like this before?
My background is in a lot of things, mostly metal and wood fabrication. In preparation for this project I did a ton of research (watched lots of YouTube videos) and decided it was best to leave the hydraulics to the professionals. I found a battery-powered system that would work and bought it online. One week later we were ready to start. • How long did it take you to make it? When she's done she will have taken about two months to build.
What are you going to do with her after the show’s over?
As of right now the fate of the car has not been decided. She's a flying car, so for her the sky's the limit! I hope everyone gets the opportunity to see her in person.