Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is back on the road on another major UK tour, introducing Ian Fleming’s timeless story to a whole new generation, and reminding us adults what life affirming joy can be had from the music and lyrics of the legendary writing duo of Richard and Robert Sherman. The current part of the tour (until 18 Sept) is led by Lee Mead, who is perfect for the part of wacky inventor and lovable father Caractacus Potts. Visually he looks the part with his long black curls giving him an air of eccentricity, but in fact Mead drives the whole of the first half of the show. From his scene-setting opening number ‘You Two’, sung with great rapport to children Jeremy and Jemima (Henry Kent and Lucy Sherman), Mead is rarely off stage – and when he gets the car to go and then fly it's an awesome moment for both children and adults alike.

Producers Music & Lyrics have emerged as real contenders for high quality touring shows – they follow a superb production of Oklahoma last year with this top-notch production. Although obviously on a smaller budget than the original West End production, director James Brining's fresh look at the show has benefitted the storytelling which is now a lot clearer, while retaining the heart, soul and energy of a great theatrical story. What it might lack in massive budget, this show more than makes up for in inventiveness – it's not just Caractacus Potts who deserves credit here. The use of projections is most effective, especially in order to convey movement in the car scenes – the video helps, too, with the story’s theme of imagination. Stephen Mear's always superlative choreography drives the show forward and gives the evening style and energy.

At the heart of Chitty is a great moral – it's the story of a widowed father trying to do his best for his children and also about the evils that children can face in the world. The second half is more sinister with Childcatcher Matt Gillett conning Potts' children by luring them into his van with ice cream and imprisoning them in the castle. It’s all Claire Sweeney’s fault – in a spot of fun casting, she’s the Baroness who hates children. Opposite her is Shaun Williamson as the Baron who loves toys – together they're a hoot and make the most of their time on stage. Sweeney's ‘The Bombie Samba’ has a great sense of fun about it all and the pair make a ridiculous couple of characters believable. Sam Harrison and Scott Paige as the two spies who conspire to capture Potts' car are also refreshing light relief, while Ewen Cummins is an earnest good-guy Toymaker.

Chitty is a classic show packed full of great songs. Opposite Mead, Carrie Hope Fletcher avoids making Truly Scrumptious either too wet or too feisty and they make a good pair – from ‘Toot Sweet’ antics at her father’s sweet factory to flying in the iconic car. Those great Sherman Brothers tunes are played by a 12-piece orchestra sounding glorious under the baton of Andrew Hilton. But it’s Mead’s unaccompanied ‘Hushaby Mountain’ that’s the vocal highlight of the evening, a tender lullaby sung to the children. There’s even the requisite happy ending in a show that has great appeal for all ages – it may be a cliché, but this Chitty certain goes with a Bang!