Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flies into Southampton, Crawley and Eastboune

Caractacus Potts and James Bond are virtually the same character, laughs Adam Garcia who brings Caractacus to life on a new tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
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Both characters were products of the same imagination – Ian Fleming’s – and Adam reckons you can really see the similarities between them. You can make up your own minds when the show plays The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from April 30-May 12; The Hawth Theatre, Crawley from August 20-25; and The Congress Theatre, Eastbourne from November 19-24.

“Ian Fleming had a difficult relationship with his son but he was desperate to be close to him. The son really wanted to read the Bond books but his father said he couldn't because they're all sex and guns and dysfunction and so he started to write Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to give his son a story that he could share with him. But when you think about it, it's got all the elements of Bond anyway. Caractacus is the rogue and the rebel and he's got all these tricks up his sleeve and at the end he saves the day and he's got a car. It might not be an Aston Martin but it is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!They are almost entirely the same character!”

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And of course, like James Bond, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang took root in our collective imagination decades ago and has stayed there ever since.

In rehearsals: Adam Garcia (Caractacus Potts) Photo by Becky Lee BrunIn rehearsals: Adam Garcia (Caractacus Potts) Photo by Becky Lee Brun
In rehearsals: Adam Garcia (Caractacus Potts) Photo by Becky Lee Brun

“It's like Mary Poppins. It has embedded into the fabric of our memories. It is a classic and the music in the show is just amazing. I don't really remember when I watched the film for the first time but I was very young. It must have been at my grandmother’s. Yes, I think I do remember her TV for some reason, and we watched it next to her electric fire. And it was just crazy. It was the most incredible wacky tale. And Robert Helpmann as the Childcatcher was just inspired. They didn't hold off. At that time with the film Roald Dahl stepped and made his additions. The Childcatcher is this really creepy dangerous figure. He is terrifying to watch and we love it!”

There's so much that goes into the story and into the production: “The music is phenomenal but it's really a journey of the imagination. It's about something magic and it's also about a small family unit that is trying to hold itself together. All those elements come together but I think that the car represents the imagination of a child come to life but it also represents the imagination of child-like adults as well. Caractacus Potts is definitely a childlike character. He's someone who is not constrained by having to have a regular job. His view is if you can imagine something then you can make it happen. He is an inventor which means he is someone who's just not shackled in any way.”

His name is key and tells you what you need to know about him: “Caractacus Potts is a ridiculous and individual and unusual name and I think it just sums him up. He wants to create as many things as he can and he wants to make things that are useful. He's incredibly loving towards his children but there is a risk that he is slightly negligent. That's putting it nicely! But he doesn't trust any institutions that don't allow children to be children. Children at the time were seen and not heard and were often sent away to school, but he wants nothing that is going to constrain them.”