What do you get when you combine two children, an inventor, a couple spies, candy makers, fun-fair attendees, and a flying car? The Hampden Area Theatre Troupe’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a stage musical based on the 1968 film of the same name, tells the story of Caractacus Potts, a widowed father and eccentric inventor, who cares for his two children, Jeremy and Jemima Potts, and their Grandpa. The children discover a car in a rural scrapyard and, with much begging and pleading, convince their father to buy and fix up the car for them. After hearing the unusual sounds the car produces, they nickname the car “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Along the way, they meet Truly Scrumptious, a beautiful upper class woman, the daughter of Lord Scrumptious, a major confectionery manufacturer.
In the evil country of Vulgaria, the Baron, a whiney man-child, and the Baroness, his wife, imprison any children that are found in the country, as children are forbidden through an act of parliament. The Baron eyes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for himself, and sends his two comical spies, Boris and Goran, to travel to England to steal the car from Potts. Mistaking Potts’ father for the real inventor of the car, Boris and Goran capture Grandpa and take him back to Vulgaria. From there, hilarity ensues.
“It is a fairly old show, and I don’t think it’s seen [a lot],” says Aidan Babbitt, who plays Grandpa. “A lot of people are familiar with the show, but haven’t seen it in a long time. Audiences of all ages will enjoy it.”
The Hampden Area Theatre Troupe (HATT) was officially founded in 2015, though many of the cast and crew members have been involved with summer theatre since 2013. HATT serves the greater Hampden/Bangor area, incorporating students enrolled in RSU 22 into their casts and crews. Led by Hampden Academy faculty member Rob Kissinger and a hard-working team of parent volunteers, as well as the dedicated students working onstage and backstage, HATT has proved to be a delightfully entertaining organization, one which will stick around for many years to come.
HATT’s primary goal is to produce quality musical productions each summer. All members participate onstage, as well as offstage, assisting in the costuming and set-building processes. In addition to putting on fantastic musical productions, HATT also strives to give back to the RSU 22 community. After each performance, HATT’s goal is to give back services and/or donations to the Hampden Academy Drama Department to benefit the Performing Arts Center. For example, cast and crew members spent time rebuilding and reorganizing Hampden Academy’s costume shop a couple years ago.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang can be seen in the Hampden Academy Performing Arts Center on July 14, 15, and 16. All shows begin at 6:30p.m, and $5 general admission tickets will be available at the door. Advance tickets are available by contacting HATT through their Facebook page.
“A lot of people are familiar with the movie,” says ensemble member Nate Bailey. “A lot of people that I’ve talked to are really excited to see such a timeless classic portrayed on stage.”
(Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/944053489054550/)