You try competing with a whimsical, fanciful flying car for story lines and a place in an audience's heart.

You try competing with a whimsical, fanciful flying car for story lines and a place in an audience's heart.

That's just what Steve Wilson and Kelly McCormick, as Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious, respectively, are up against in the touring production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

OK, so neither views the show as competition, but both were quick to point out the importance of the show's human elements.

"It's a story about family and about the power of coming together," McCormick told The Beat. "Potts is struggling to make his kids' lives as normal as possible without a mother."

Wilson concurred, saying that, while his character is certainly an eccentric (Potts is an inventor of often outlandish creations), the challenge is to balance that with universal themes.

"He's a devoted father," Wilson said. "The script looks at how he deals with meeting someone and with falling in love. It also deals with real-world problems like keeping as roof over your head and keeping your family safe."

Of Truly, McCormick said that, despite her name and the fact she's a candy heiress, "at the end of the day she's a woman who rides a motorcycle and fixes stuff when it breaks down."

The touring production, a more faithful adaptation of the 1968 Disney film (which was itself an adaptation of the Ian Fleming novel) than the production mounted for Broadway, does of course also feature a flying car (McCormick described the sensation as "akin to riding a very slow roller coaster.")

"Audiences are waiting for it, and you know it, so you really look out and see those faces full of wonder," McCormick said. "It's special to see the reaction."

Of course, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang being a musical (with songs by Richard and Robert Sherman), there's plenty of singing and dancing, with production numbers including Toot Sweets and Me Ol' Bamboo. McCormick said the music's reliance on the ensemble cast adds to the fun.

Wilson said he enjoys a spot where the show shifts mood.

"There's a great little number in Act I called Hushabye Mountain, where in the midst of the whirling, swirling musical comedy, there's this quiet little moment in the kids' bedroom where the play slows down a bit."

He said working with the young people in the cast is a treat.

"In each city there are four local children in addition to our touring cast," he explained. "We do a number in Act II called Teamwork that's just infectious. I find myself unable to keep from smiling and laughing."

He's hoping audiences feel the same way.

For more on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang , read the BeatBlog.