For starters, it is about a road trip; it’s hard for even the most creative production team to put those wheels into motion in a theatre.
And, unfortunately, as well as William Finn’s songs are performed here, there are too few cascading big numbers to leave you feeling you are in the middle of a great musical.
Yet, in many ways, it still does work, mainly down to the humour that is laced throughout; this production certainly captures the essence of the wonderful 2006 comedy/drama movie and adds new strands, too. It keeps driving.
Centred around the highly-dysfunctional Hoover family, the story depicts their chaotic bid to get adorable, bespectacled seven-year-old daughter Olive - played with real punch and confidence by Lily-Mae Denman in this production - fully 800 miles across state to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant contest.
But in a battered, old but much-loved VW Camper van that needs a push start, each character running in relay style before jumping in once its on its way.
With a recently suicidal Uncle Frank (Paul Keating), a moody, non-speaking brother (Sev Keoshgerian), the perennially put-upon mum (Lucy O’Byrne) and career troubled dad (Gabriel Vick), it makes for a interesting journey.
However, the scene-stealer - and rightly so - is the hard-living, drug-loving Grandpa, who also doubles-up as Olive’s dance teacher; full of wit and dirty one-liners, but offset with some genuine moments of tenderness, it is a role Mark Moraghan clearly embraces.
The Mean Girls, who sporadically appear to tease and torment in the mind of Olive, are suitably… well, mean.
Imelda Warren-Green delivers two classic cameos as an officious, awkward hospital grief aider and a riotously daft Miss California as the pageant comes to life in all its expected tawdriness.
If you enjoyed the film, you will certainly enjoy this.