Making Chitty Bang Bang Soar

The car flies through the air, sails the sea and even holds a world record!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a whimsical family-friendly musical that audiences have cherished for years. Adapted from Ian Fleming’s children’s novel of the same name, a quirky inventor, Caractus Potts, and his children Jeremy and Jemima restore an old race car from the scrap heap. Together, they discover the car’s magical abilities to soar and sail. Trouble ensues when the selfish Baron Bomburst wants the car’s magic for himself. Joined by Truly Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts, they travel to Vulgaria to free the kingdom from its cruel child-hating rulers.

The title character, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang doesn’t need a grand dance number or a prolonged note to belt at the top of their lungs. Chitty steals the show by flying through the air and over the patrons in the front rows. On Broadway, Chitty’s flight has been made possible through a hydraulically controlled armature that comes up from the center of the stage, or in other theatres, from wires and spotlight hoists. Technology like this costs thousands of dollars, not to mention the construction of the car itself. The 2002 production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, spent $1.07 million on the construction of Chitty alone, and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive stage prop. Today, with BMD’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s Scenic Projection Package and a few staging tricks, any theatre can recreate Chitty’s travels.

Our Scenic Projections were created to showcase the action happening onstage. That’s why we have designed Chitty’s travel sequences while keeping Chitty placed centerstage. Whether you’re using a creative Chitty alternative or a built Chitty we have a few staging tricks to take your stage to sea and sky!

Here’s a look at a creative Chitty alternative that our friends at Girton Grammar School paired with our Scenic Projections:

They used a front view of Chitty placed at the feet of the actors, so they appear to be seated inside the vehicle. With the tires held by four uniform ensemble members, they can be turned giving the illusion that the car is in motion as the actors remain in place. The tires can also be oriented downwards to propel Chitty on the water, or diagonally for flight.

*When traveling down the dirt path, the actors inside the car can bounce up and down and subtly move side to side for an added driving effect.

A1S8 0:26 - 0:38 // 1:04 - 1:15

Another stagging suggestion that works for either a creative Chitty alternative or a built Chitty is making sure the children seated in the back, can be seen behind the adults seated in front of them. For a great stage picture, have the adults in the front seats sit slightly apart, creating a small center aisle, while the kids sit on top of phonebooks or milk crates and can be seen by the audience.

These are just a few suggestions of how you can pair our Scenic Projections with your production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Learn about our Scenic Projections for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Interested in learning more?

Truly Scrumptious from Lighting and Sound International

Stage Automation Engineer by American Theatre Wing, stage Automation Engineer, Chuck Adomanis walks us through the technology behind his largest projects.

The Most Expensive Theatre Prop in History by Theatre People Newsroom for Theatre People