Plenty of Bang for your buck in classic show; THEATRE CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG Festival Theatre, Edinburgh , October 11.
Spies, flying cars, creepy villains, exotic locations - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is essentially James Bond for kids.
Written by Bond creator Ian Fleming, it's about an eccentric widower (Caractacus Potts) who converts an old Grand Prix car in a bid to rescue his equally eccentric dad, kidnappedby a pair of evil fascists from Vulgaria.
Covering land, sea and air, this big-budget production relies heavily on giant projected imagery to give the illusion of travel. Things move at F1 pace, ensuring boredom never sets in.
And there's enough songs and jokes to keep the five to 12-year-olds from thinking of ice cream at the interval. It's nice enough, it just lacks that extra bit of magic to place the show alongside other favourites such as Mary Poppins. The touring production features a star-studded cast and comic Jason Manford is perfectly likeable as easygoing Potts. A canny singer, he does classic lullaby Hushabye Mountain a justice. Ex-Brookside actress Claire Sweeney, meanwhile, brings pizzazz to her S&M-clad Baroness Bomburst.
Sadly, Phill Jupitus, is underused, his comedic ability not fully utilised as the toy-bear-stroking Baron. Jos Vyntyler, however, is genuinely disturbing as The Childcatcher. A cross between Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka and Freddie Krueger, he'll give a few people nightmares.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang may lack the thrills 'n' spills of other big-budget shows but there's enough motor power to keep the kids amused for a couple of hours.
BARRY GORDON n Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, King's Theatre, Glasgow, October 19 to 29, 7.30pm, PS20.40-PS48.90, 0844 871 7648.
ON SONG Jason Manford as Caractacus Potts