Chitty Chitty overcomes costly clang clang

~ Guardian - 19/04/02 by Maeve Kennedy ~

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flew again yesterday afternoon, after a panic stricken pit stop which lasted all Wednesday night and yesterday morning.

With the entire stage crew crossing their fingers, the car flew perfectly at yesterday's matinee and evening performances.

The car is the star of the £6m stage musical version of the famous film, which opened on Tuesday.

The following night, after 2,000 ticket holders were kept milling around for an hour outside the London Palladium, the wheels fell off the car and the show was cancelled.

A minor component of the computer which powers the £1m prop needed to be replaced. The repair was postponed until after the first night and installed the following morning.

But the new computer failed, and despite frantic efforts to correct the fault, half an hour after the scheduled curtain up the cast and capacity audience were sent home.

All the ticket holders were promised a full refund or a ticket for another night, a move which will cost the producers more than £40,000.

The show has already taken more than £8m in advance ticket sales.

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