Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Previewed 19 March 2002, Opened 16 April 2002, Closed 4 September 2005 at the London Palladium

Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - the most magical stage musical of all time is now at The London Palladium!

The enthralling story of the adventures of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the magical car as it sails the seas and flies through the air will bring back a host of memories. Chitty's eccentric inventor, Caractacus Potts and his enchanting children Jemima and Jeremy, join the truly scrumptious Truly Scrumptious and batty Grandpa Potts to outwit the dastardly Baron and Baroness in this non-stop adventure for all ages.

With sensational sets, stunning special effects and brimming with memorable songs by the Sherman Brothers including 'Truly Scrumptious', 'Toot Sweets', 'Hushabye Mountain' and, of course, its Oscar-nominated title song 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', this is the ultimate High-Flying Stage Musical.

Musical with music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, and book by Ian Fleming, adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams, based on the 1968 United Artists film.

The original cast featured Michael Ball as 'Caractacus Potts', Anton Rodgers as 'Grandpa Potts', Emma Williams as 'Truly Scrumptious', Richard O'Brien as 'Childcatcher', Brian Blessed as 'Baron Bomburst', Nichola McAuliffe as 'Baroness Bomburst', and Edward Petherbridge as 'Toymaker'. George Gillies, Harry Smith and Luke Newberry shared the role of 'Jeremy Potts', Carrie Fletcher, Lauren Morgan and Kimberley Fletcher shared the role of 'Jemima Potts'. With Peter Bishop as 'Inventor', Ray C Davis as 'Coggins', Steve Elias as 'Turkey Farmer', David Henry as 'Lord Scrumptious', Graham Hoadly as 'Phillips', Nicholas Johnson as 'Inventor', Bret Jones as 'Inventor', Liza Pulman as 'Violet', Matthew Rixon as 'Sid', David Ross as 'Boris', and Emil Wolk as 'Goran', along with Helen Baker, Julie Barnes, Darren Carnall, Stuart Chaffer, Ben Clare, Lisa Joanne Cook, Phyllida Crowley-Smith, Darren J Fawthrop, Nia Fisher, Ben Garner, Jocelyn Hawkyard, Emma Hennigan, Emma Kerslake, Robert Kramer, David Lee, Rory Locke, Gary Milner, Tommi Sliiden, Scarlett Strallen, Lyndsey Wise, Leo Bidwell, Philip Comley, Ross Dawes, Maria Holley, Remy Martyn and Claire Morland.

Directed by Adrian Noble with choreography by Gillian Lynne, designs by Anthony Ward, lighting by Mark Henderson, and sound by Andrew Bruce.

The role of 'Caractacus Potts' was played by Michael Ball from Tuesday 19 March 2002 to Saturday 19 July 2003; followed by Gary Wilmot from Monday 21 July 2003 to Saturday 29 November 2003; Peter Bishop from Monday 1 December 2003 to Saturday 10 January 2004; Jason Donovan from Monday 12 January 2004 to Saturday 14 February 2004; Gary Wilmot from Monday 16 February 2004 to Sunday 5 September 2004; Jason Donovan from Tuesday 7 September 2004 to Sunday 13 March 2005; Brian Conley from Tuesday 15 March 2005 to Sunday 19 June 2005; and Jason Donovan from Tuesday 21 June 2005 to Sunday 4 September 2005.

The role of ‘Grandpa Potts' was played by Anton Rodgers from Tuesday 19 March 2002 to Saturday 14 September 2003; followed by Russ Abbot from Monday 16 September 2003 to Saturday 13 March 2004; and Tony Adams from Tuesday 16 March 2004 to Sunday 4 September 2005.

The role of 'Truly Scrumptious' was played by Emma Williams from Tuesday 19 March 2002 to Saturday 15 March 2003; Caroline Sheen from Monday 17 March 2003 to Saturday 13 March 2004; Scarlett Strallen from Tuesday 16 March 2004 to Sunday 13 March 2005; and Jo Gibb from Tuesday 15 March 2005 to Sunday 4 September 2005.

The role of the 'Child Catcher' was play by Richard O'Brien from Tuesday 19 March 2002 to Saturday 14 September 2002; Paul O'Grady (aka Lily Savage) from Monday 16 September 2002 to Saturday 7 December 2002; Derek Griffiths from Monday 9 December 2002 to Saturday 22 July 2003; Wayne Sleep from Monday 24 July 2003 to Saturday 13 March 2004; Lionel Blair from Tuesday 16 March 2004 to Sunday 5 September 2004; Stephen Gately from Tuesday 7 September 2004 to Sunday 13 March 2005; and Alvin Stardust from Tuesday 15 March 2005 to Sunday 4 September 2005.

Note: During the run the performance schedule from 'Monday-to-Saturday' to a 'Tuesday-to-Sunday' schedule from the week-starting 15 March 2004. The was no Monday evening performance on 15 March 2004, while the first Sunday performance was on 21 March 2004.

"No doubt about it: the car's a star! A superstar in fact. It cost pounds £6 million to stage Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium - a staggering amount in West End theatre terms. But just to see that amazing flying automobile was worth every penny as far as the ecstatic first night crowd were concerned... As is common in the musical format, some of the drama veered towards the pantomime but when the action showed the merest hint of dragging, up popped Chitty and there we all were - back in a childlike world of magic... This exuberant, lavish, almost unbelievable festival of fun was irresistible. Like a tidal wave, it engulfs you and carries you along at breakneck speed. It is a winner through and through. To coin a phrase, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a sure-fire hit... And . . . oh what a car!" The Daily Mirror

"Chitty herself is a copperbottomed star vehicle, sleek and shiny, and her hydraulics are phantasmagorical, thrusting her up high and deep into the auditorium. But gasp as my children did as she spread her wings and did a thousand things, this magical car failed to transport them - or me - for an instant. Their imaginations remained safety-belted to their seats throughout... Where this production scores points is in Anthony Ward's spectacular designs: Lord Scrumptious's brass sweer factory, the oymaker's workshop (which opens like a gaint doll's house) and the clockwork horse with illuminated innards which pulls the Childcatcher's cage. If you like musical-hall style knees-ups, there's much to enjoy in Gillian Lynn's choreography... Did I mention dogs? Every one is gorgeous an dazzling obedient, but what on Earth are they doing here? A spectacular example of more meaning less." The Mail on Sunday

"The best things about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, at the London Palladium, are its gadgetry and design. The car that gives it its title is a noble chariot, amphibian or airborne as occasion demands. Caractacus Potts's laboratory gleams with golden clockwork. Wheels whirr and production lines clatter in Lord Scrumptious's sweet factory (where the workers wear candy-striped uniforms). There's clever use of models and trick perspective. The ingenuity of the designer, Anthony Ward, is matched by his visual flair. A Big Wheel in a fairground, pricked out in coloured lights against a night sky, is a lot prettier that the real Wheel at Westminster Bridge. In mittel-european Vulgaria, where the villains of the piece come from, the timbered houses in a city square are given a sinister expressionist slope. The story itself is less compelling than the spectacle... Individual scenes work their charm, however, often with a good deal of help from Gillian Lynne's exuberant choreography." The Sunday Telegraph

"It is a big, joyful, enchanting show. Where Ken Hughes's famous 1968 musical film, with music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, was insufferably twee, this production, adapted by Jeremy Sams, is fresh, warm-hearted, thrillingly inventive: in a word, magical. You cannot fool children: they can spot fake magic from a mile. The night I saw the show, the children's joy was obvious. No fidgeting, no chattering, only rapt attention. This is one of the uses of enchantment. Perhaps the best thing about Noble's production is his direction of the children... The hero of the show, though, is the designer, Anthony Ward. The costumes and the sets combine observation and fantasy, and the special effects, particularly the flying sequences, are breathtaking. The fantastic and the unreal can look more exciting in the theatre than in the cinema, possibly because the ingenuity is more real, but it takes a master to bathe it in magic. This is a show for all ages." The Sunday Times

"At a cool £6.2million, it is the most expensive musical ever staged. Fortunately, like the magic car that takes to the skies, this one will fly and fly. A new musical where everyone knows the songs has a headstart. You can tell from the moment the audience starts clapping along with the main theme of the overture that this one is going to be a wiiner. And so it proves to be, with balletic choreography from Gillian Lynne, evermore spectacular sets by Antony Ward." The Daily Express

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in London at the London Palladium previewed from 19 March 2002, opened on 16 April 2002 and closed on 4 September 2005.