Preview: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Kids preview: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Claire Sweeney talks about her role playing a child-hater in the popular family musical

Claire Sweeney has a confession to make. Namely that although she loves it now, the former Brookside and Clocking Off star was unfamiliar with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang until shortly before she joined the cast alongside Jason Manford and Phill Jupitus.

'I came to it late and only saw the film recently,' says Sweeney. 'But when I did, I completely got it. It's absolutely beautiful, and I think it's that magical quality that people of all ages fall in love with.'

Following successful West End runs in Chicago and Guys and Dolls, Sweeney is now as well known for her work on stage as on screen. In particular, her portrayal of the spiteful Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray won her acclaim – and proved the perfect breeding ground for her role as the equally nasty Baroness Bomburst in Chitty. But as new mum to a two-year-old son, she's found the part a tad ironic.

'Velma in Hairspray is absolutely vile, so playing the Baroness, another baddie, is the same kind of character, although I'm finding different elements to her as we go along,' says Sweeney. 'But it's funny, because since my son was born I've been obsessed with babies – and of course the Baroness hates kids!'

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 5–Sun 16 Oct

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The much-heralded stage version of the popular family film, in a production that has been nominated for a host of awards in its four-year tour. Boo at the Child Catcher and sing along with all those classic songs.

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