Mary Poppins Cast
Zizi Strallen (Mary Poppins), Matt Lee (Bert), Milo Twomey (George Banks), Rebecca Lock (Winifred Banks), Maia West (Jane Banks), Santiago Weston (Michael Banks), Grainne Renihan (Bird Woman), Wendy Ferguson (Mrs Brill), Blair Anderson (Robertson Ay), Penelope Woodman (Mrs Andrews).
Mary Poppins Synopsis
I mean, you know the story right?! – A magical nanny attempts to fix a disjointed London family with a lot of fun (namely park adventures, kite flying, singing on rooftops, spoonfuls of sugar and really, really long words) along the way.
This was my first time seeing the stage production of Mary Poppins, I was surprised at how much it differs from the film. While I could have done without some of the additional plot subtext relating to minor characters such as the Banks’ cook; the extra songs penned by George Stiles and Anthony Drew blend seamlessly with those we know and love. As much as the film’s structure is tinkered with ( I assume to make it more stage friendly), the musical more than maintains the magic of the film.
This Production of Mary Poppins
The cast, led by Zizi Strallen and Matt Lee live up to their predecessors while making the roles their own and making familiar songs sound the best you’ve ever heard them. Zizi’s Poppins is an exquisite mixture of lovable niceness with a twinge of arrogance. I also really warmed to Matt Lee’s, tongue-in-cheek, Bert and hunted for the Poppins/Bert interaction throughout some of the larger numbers. I mean, Poppins and Bert were basically the OTP of my childhood.
Familiar numbers such as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious are brought to life in quirky ways by a large ensemble who execute some tricky choreography with ease. This number, as well as some wonderful ballet sequences, are where the stage show improves on the film. There’s a certain buzz induced by a live performance that you just don’t get from sitting in front of a screen.
The production values are much higher than many other UK tours, which I guess explains why it’s only visiting the larger houses around the country. The set is big and beautiful. It centres on a version of the Banks’ house that opens up (like a book) to reveal multiple rooms inside, but maintains enough flexibility for saunters through London parks and dancing on rooftops. Poppins’ flying is magical, but also obviously executed, I was slightly disappointed – but that’s a pathetic criticism, I’m basically saying I’m disappointed Mary Poppins doesn’t actually fly! I won’t spoil the surprise, but Bert’s moment in the wires more than makes up for it!
My Verdict on Mary Poppins
Although not groundbreaking theatre (don’t get me wrong, it does have some truly excellent moments); Mary Poppins is a very enjoyable experience that will transport you back to your childhood and leave you with a sugary glow in the pit of your stomach. It’s a great, familiar, entry into the world of theatre for the young and a nostalgic, easy, watch for the … well … not so young! I give Mary Poppins a rating of 3/5.