Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Playhouse, Edinburgh, Sat 2 Dec-Sat 24 Feb 2007


The idea of a mechanism as the star of a show might have seemed a bizarre notion a few generations ago. Only since the Futurists began their ambivalent relationship with technology early last century has art substantially changed, perhaps as a reflection of our own changing lives, to centre narrative on the non-human. By the time of Roald Dahl’s version of Ian Fleming’s at times rather frightening story for children as film and theatre, the idea of technology as entertainment was well in place.

But the question of whether technology is a blessing or curse was raised with this production, which went up in London in 2002. Early on, the stage car was beset with all manner of difficulties, and took so much of director Adrian Noble’s attention that many attribute his resignation of the artistic directorship of the RSC to this production. For all that, though, there’s been a great deal of acclaim heaped on the show since, and the extravagant praise makes this a pretty irresistible winter warmer, no matter how you feel about kids’ stories and cars. With a new cast boasting a number of well-kent Scottish faces in this version, this will be, at the very least, the curiosity of the season.

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