Ian Fleming's delightful 1964 children's book about a historical renovated sports car with a mind of its own is an adventure-filled family story that bears little resemblance to the latest stage version except for the sound of the car's engine: "chitty-chitty-bang-bang." The book's cohesive story and plausible fantasy are what one expects from the author of James Bond
when he sets out to entertain his son. The Broadway show opened in 2005 and got nominations for best staring and supporting roles and scenic and lighting design, but closed within nine months. The touring version bears so little resemblance to the book this writer had to convince herself she had ever read it, liked it, passed it on to others. There's nothing smart, sharp or charming in this musical with a contrived plot, unbelievable/offensive sub-plots, shrill characters, tiresome dialogue, pedestrian choreography and sight-gag stage activity. The best two minutes came between acts with ad-libs by the "villains." Without the woeful sound system, they actually could be heard and understood. Yes, the audience hooted and hollered when "the car" appeared.