I don’t think I have ever clapped throughout a musical number quite as much as I did last night, but from start to finish, as soon as that: ‘Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ rhythm starts up from the orchestra pit, you can’t help but to join in.

It’s a story so many of us will remember from our childhood. For me, hearing those songs again took me right back to Sunday afternoons as a child, snuggled up on the sofa, tea trolley laden with scotch pancakes and crumpets dripping with golden syrup and a classic film on the telly. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was up there with one of our favourites. It has it all, the struggling yet eccentric father figure, adorable children longing for a mother, beautiful leading lady ready to step in to the role, baddies, goodies, comedy characters, iconic songs and of course, the star of the show, a flying car. I mean, what else could you possibly want? How then, can one production wrap all of this magic up and present it on the stage to a live audience? The answer is with majesty, as the cast and crew proved when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang rolled in to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton last night.

Great British Life: Adam Garcia as Caractacus Potts with Ayrton English (Jeremy Potts), Jasmine Nyenya (Jemima Potts) and Ellie Nunn as Truly ScrumptiousAdam Garcia as Caractacus Potts with Ayrton English (Jeremy Potts), Jasmine Nyenya (Jemima Potts) and Ellie Nunn as Truly Scrumptious (Image: Mayflower Theatre)

Star of stage and screen, Adam Garcia takes the lead role of Caractacus Potts, originally played of course by Dick Van Dyke in the film, and he steps in to those large shoes with gusto. Absorbing the energy of the audience and converting it into an effervescent portrayal of the eccentric inventor and loving father, he delights the entire way through, with his particularly spirited Me Ol’ Bamboo dance number being the highlight for me. He was having just as much fun playing the role as we were watching him, drawing the audience in and making us all feel a part of the Potts family. No wonder then, that Truly Scrumptious (played by Ellie Nunn) surprises herself by falling for the unlikely heartthrob. Ellie’s feminist take on the character was a breath of fresh air, her witty one liners and no nonsense attitude winning over the audience instantly. I adored her Doll on a Music Box scene, one of my favourites from the film too, as she perfectly replicated Sally Anne Howes’ original iconic song. Ellie’s voice is stunningly soft and her Lovely, Lonely Man performance sung while revolving around mid-air as Chitty soared through the sky stunned the audience into complete silence.

Great British Life: Charlie Brooks is perfect in her Childcatcher roleCharlie Brooks is perfect in her Childcatcher role (Image: Mayflower Theatre)

Supporting actors Liam Fox (who played Grandpa Potts) and Charlie Brooks (The Childcatcher) were equally as brilliant, meeting all my expectations as a lover of the film. Charlie plays an excellent villain (as fans of Eastenders will already know) and her sass and showmanship on stage made you love to hate her, which is exactly what she intends, I’m sure. Martin Callaghan and Jenny Gayner as the Baron and Baroness were hilariously funny, their excellent timing and asides to the audience hitting a level for adults which flew over my 7-year-old’s head, but which had me crying with laughter as did Adam Stafford and Michael Joseph as comedy spies Boris and Goran.

The true stars of the show however were Ayrton English and Jasmine Nyenya who played the children, Jeremy and Jemima Potts, along with the other young stars who we met in Act 2 living in the sewers of Vulgaria. Beautiful singing and oozing with confidence, the children were resilient and inspirational and it was a joy to watch them all perform with such enthusiasm.

With an awe-inspiring set and of course the incredible flying, floating Chitty, this is a stage performance that will stay in your head for a long time. My son summed it up as we piled out of the theatre: ‘That was awesome Mummy’, and it truly (scrumptious) was.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is on at The Mayflower, Southampton until May 12. Book tickets online at Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | Mayflower Theatre