LAURA MICHELLE
KELLY

as Mary Poppins

GAVIN LEE
as Bert

DAVID HAIG
as Mr.Banks

LINZI HATELEY
as Mrs. Banks

KITTY MURDOCH as Jane Banks  OSCAR REDIF as Michael Banks

JENNY GALLOWAY as Mrs. Brill  GERARD CAREY as Robertson  JULIA SUTTON as Birdwoman

 KEVIN WILLIAMS as Park Keeper and  CLAIRE MACHIN as Miss Lark

 

 

THE CLASSIC STORY

The Banks family has a problem in keeping the nannies who take care of their two children, but that changes the day Mary Poppins answers their add. At first the kids are suspicious of her and of the fact that she claims to be practically perfect, but soon she and her friend Bert takes them into magic adventures, while she tries to teach them good manners and help their relationship with their parents. The father is a workaholic banker who is starting to have troubles in his work and the mother is an ex-actress who is bored with her new life, but Mary will help them all.

A STAGE OF WONDERS

The Disney movie was never one of my favourite genre movies and although I love Julie Andrews, I don’t think that was one of her best roles. Maybe because of all that I was pleasant surprised by this stage musical.

This is one of those huge and well oiled productions where everything works perfectly. If someone asked me to describe this show in one word I would have to say “amazement”. I was truly amazed with the way the sets changes, with the simple and effective special effects and of course I love seeing Mary flying over us.



This stage adaptation is based not only on the Disney movie but also on the original stories by P. L. Travers and the creative force behind this show decided they needed new songs, so the team of George Stiles & Anthony Drewe was brought in. They not only wrote new songs but also additional lyrics and music to the original ones by the Sherman Brothers; combine that with new orchestrations by William David Brohn and the result is a new score that’s very different from the MARY POPPINS we know. The new songs blend perfectly with the old ones and there’s a dark side here that hardly exist in the Disney version and which is pretty evident in two of the new numbers - “Temper, Temper” (maybe too scary for young children) and “Brimstone and Treacle”.

Some of the classic songs like “Feed the Birds”, “A Spoonful of Sugar”, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” use the original lyrics but have a different sound. Others like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, “Step in Time” and, my favourite tune from the movie, “Jolly Holiday” are almost new songs and they’re much more musical here than in the movie. As for the entire new songs, “Practically Perfect” is a perfect character song for Mary Poppins and finally Mrs. Banks have something to shine – “Being Mrs. Banks”. There’s also the terrific “Anything Can Happen”. This new song is a truly life affirmation hymn and fits like a glove in the show; it’s also one of those songs that can easily survive outside the show.

The only let down of this musical is the choreography that I’m sure could have been more interesting, but it works in the context of the show and there are some magic moments on stage that bring out the child in us. I clapped like a maniac during the “Supercalifra…” number and in “Step in Time” Bert dance all over (really all over) the stage proscenium.



Laura Michelle Kelly may not have the sweet Julie Andrews touch but she has the right attitude to play Mary and shows a beautiful strong voice. David Haig and Linzi Hateley are very convincing as the Banks parents and Kitty Murdoch and Oscar Redif are as irritating as they should be as their children. Jenny Galloway and Gerard Carey are really funny as the Banks’ home employees. They are all very good, there’s also a touching Julia Sutton as the Bird Woman, but the show belongs to Gavin Lee who is simply fantastic as Bert.

So let the magic invade your soul and you’ll see that if you let it anything can happen in a theatre.

Original Music and Lyrcis by
RICHARD M. SHERMAN and ROBERT B. SHERMAN

       New Songs and Additonal Music and Lyrics by
GEORGE STILES and ANTHONY DREWE

Book by JULIAN FELLOWES     Co-Direction and Choreography by MATTHEW BOURNE

  Directed by RICHARD EYRES

Photos © Michael Le Poer Trench       Rated by Jorge: ++++