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Halle Berry sees Chitty off with a bang

Best actress Oscar winner Halle Berry attended the stage musical premiere of classic children's film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" in London's West End. Joining her in the audience at the London Palladium was James Bond star Pierce Brosnan -- who along with Berry is shooting the 20th secret agent epic due for release in November. "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", like the Bond films, originates from a book by Ian Fleming.

It tells the story of eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts who makes a flying car which takes him and his family to the faraway kingdom of Vulgaria where children are outlawed.

Dick Van Dyke played the original Potts in the 1968 film that gave a generation of children sleepless nights at the thought of the childcatcher, played on stage by Richard O'Brien, famous for writing and starring in "The Rocky Horror Show".

The musical uses stunning special effects to make the car appear as if it were flying off the stage and soaring over the heads of the audience. Costing 6.2 million pounds (8.9 million dollars, 10.1 million euros) to stage, the show is set to be the West End's most expensive British production.

It had taken more than two million pounds in advance bookings by last December, a boost for London's theatre industry after the closure of roller-skating hit "Starlight Express" in January after an 18-year run.

Next month the curtain falls on "Cats" -- among the world's longest running musicals after 21 years on the London stage.

Author not available, Oscar winner Berry sees British musical off with a bang. , Agence France Presse English, 04-17-2002.

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The Richard O'Brien Crusade est. 1996