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Mary Poppins - The Musical

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Disney and Cameron Mackintosh present a stage version of the classic screen musical (drawing additional material from the original series of books upon which it was based)- Chim, chiminny, chim, chim cheroo, etc.

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      22.04.2010 15:46
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      A great show. Really enjoyable.

      I went to see this on my Hen night in 2008, at the Birmingham Hippodrome and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

      I have always been a massive fan of Mary Poppins since childhood, so when I saw that this was on, it was my first choice to go and see.

      Everyone knows the basics of Mary Poppins, she is a nanny with a few extra powers (pulling giant things out of handbags, controlling toys by clicking her fingers), so I expected the musical to just be a re-enacted version of Mary Poppins, but it wasn't.

      They had changed quite a lot of the story line. The characters were still mostly the same, Mary, Bert, Jane and Michael were all there, and they had kept a couple of the most famous songs, which I really enjoyed, but they story line was based around Mary Poppins being in competition with another evil nanny, and there were a few random scenes that you would never expect.

      The costumes and the actors were all brilliant, they all had excellent voices and they were great dancers, but for me the star of the show is the man who plays Bert. He was excellent, and really charismatic, he was the best in the show by far. He does a scene where he tap dances upside down on the ceiling of the set, and for me that was the best part of the show, how he managed to do that was really amazing.

      There were some great new songs and a couple of the classics in this, it was great to be able to sing along with some of them.

      I would definitely recommend going to see this. I'm not sure when or if it will come back to the UK but if you can catch it somewhere it's definitely worth seeing, the deviation from the old story line does not ruin it or make it any less magical. I really enjoyed it.

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      21.10.2009 12:09
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      My view of Mary Poppins

      I didn't actually see this in the UK, I saw it on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in NYC but I believe it is exactly the same show and actors change frequently anyway.

      I absolutely love the film and have been to see The Lion King on stage so thought this would be worth going to see. Both are produced by Disney and I think that quality shows through. The action still centres around Mary Poppins, Bert and the Banks family and most of the storyline and songs -with a few add-ins, such as a long version of Super... - are exactly the same as in the film, which I won't go into as I'm sure everyone has seen the film!

      There are a few differences but I won't give them away. I thought the special effects were amazing for a stage show - including Mary Poppins flying over the audience, both kids and adults would enjoy that. The set changes were seamless and the set consisted of a cross-section of the family house. Obviosuly the 'cartoon' section of the film couldn't be recreated but in the most part the limitations of any set didn't affect the show.

      It was well-acted and sung as you would expect for a Broadway show, including the children. The cast will no doubt have changed since I saw this but I believe a couple of cast members were British and you couldn't hear any American accents coming through, which would have put me off. The costumes and music were all great. We sat quite a few rows up and still had a good view. It entertained a teenager, myself in my twenties and my parents in their sixties too!

      We paid about $100 for seats in the evening, think this is fairly typical and worth it if you're on holiday I think! I know tickets are much cheaper for the touring production here in the UK.

      Like most things the merchandise wasn't cheap but here were a few things to look at such as cups and programmes. I would defintely go and see this again, either in the Uk or in NYC.

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      06.05.2009 22:21
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      Both versions are just as good!

      ***NOTE*** I tried to suggest a new category for this and after some lengthy email conversations, my review has ended up in this category. Feel free to pass on advice on whether it needs to be moved. This is also a long review :O)


      I was in New York for my sister's 40th and we decided to take in a day in New York City and catch a musical. My brother-in-law had no idea what to go for, we had children to cater for as well so we decided to check out Mary Poppins on Broadway. I don't know anyone who doesn't know the lovely story of Mary Poppins.

      Mary Poppins is the story of the mystical and stern English nanny, blown to Cherry Tree Lane and takes up the vacant post of Nanny at the Banks Household. Immortalised in a classic Disney movie, Mary Poppins was adapted for stage in both London's West End and New York's Broadway.


      ~~~ THE VENUE ~~~


      Mary Poppins, the musical is showing at the New Amsterdam Theater located on West 42nd Street. It was built in 1903 and is Broadway's oldest venue still in production. It was restored in 1997 after Disney had taken up a lease on the building. On re-opening, this theater staged The Lion King.

      From the moment you step inside into the entrance way, you can see the ornate design along the wall. I can only describe it as gold filigree covered carvings. It certainly looks dated, but is in very good condition and looks like it is maintained regularly. We were on the balcony and all the way up the stairs, the theater looked lavish with rich red carpet and further carvings along the wall and at the end of each banister. There were also pictures of stars of eras gone by in productions staged at the theater.

      One of the other things you notice when you walk into the seating area is that everything is very cosy. The stage is no bigger than a cinema screen, but the seats are very close and around the stage. I imagine if you suffer from claustrophobia, the closeness of the walls would not suit you at all. As mentioned we were on the balcony which is the highest level of seats and above the mezzanine and orchestra. I not a regular theatre-goer, but I do know that the orchestra is always lower than the stage and the ground seats. However, in this theatre, the orchestra was actually under the stage with a little opening so you could see the conductor during the break.

      Our specific seats were in the 3rd row to the left of the stage and we had a direct view over the stage. The seats on this level did extend quite a way back, probably about 30 rows and I did wonder what kind of view the audience at the rear would see and whether the tickets were any cheaper. Our seats had a very good view of the set as well as the stage and if I am going to a show, I make it a point to get seats as close as possible. We were close enough that although the cast were not life-size, we could still see the expressions on their faces. There are no close-ups in theatre!

      The biggest disappointment of the venue was the variety of food on offer. We were going to see a matinee which traverses the lunch period and not a good time for me. During the only break in the show, the only refreshments on offer were chips (American crisps at that!), cookies, sweets and beer! Not appealing at all. I think the venue has missed out on cashing in on a captive market as you do not have enough time to venture out to get something.



      ~~~ THE CAST ~~~


      The lead role of Mary Poppins is, thankfully, played by a British actress and in fact, played by Scarlett Strallen. For the showbiz luvvies out there, you will notice that Scarlett shares the same name as Summer Strallen, who was chosen to play Maria in the Sound of Music and appeared in Hollyoaks over Summer 2008. The girls are in fact sisters, with Scarlett being the elder and with a massive tumble of blonde curls. Scarlett appears courtesy of Equity, the actors association.

      Scarlett's portrayal of Mary Poppins is nothing short of stunning. Scarlett plays the magical nanny with such poise and aplomb. There are a few scenes in the musical where Mary ascends and descends the stairs and Scarlett always held her head up high and even when she was acting she would hold her head up and off to one side with the utmost elegance and grace. It seemed odd at first, but then it fell into line with the stern but lovely character that is Mary Poppins. The transformation from Scarlett's natural look to Mary Poppins makes Scarlett unnoticeable and once you see her as Mary Poppins, it is as if she is Mary Poppins.

      In our matinée, Bert was played by Tony Mansker, who is normally in the ensemble but also plays understudy for Bert's role. We were not advised as to why he was replaced, but it didn't matter. Tony played Bert's role very tongue in cheek, just as Dick van Dyke did in the movie. In fact I think anyone who plays Bert has a lot to live up to after Dick's performance in the movie. In the musical, Bert's role is to link up many of scenes and provide transition between the Acts.

      The Banks children, Jane and Michael, were played by Alison Jaye Horowitz and Neil McCaffrey. The production has a set of children that play these characters as regulations restrict the number of shows children can partake in. There is nothing notable about the actor playing Michael's role as the child has little to say, although does pipe up at the right moment. I did not think he was overly cute either, well not as cute as the boy who played the role in the film. Alison's portrayal of Jane was definitely memorable. The actress had this really annoying high-pitched whiney voice which only seemed to grate on me. This role has a lot of lines and at times it felts so sharp I would have scraped my fingers down the proverbial blackboard. Nevertheless, the role was believable and didn't detract from my enjoyment.

      These are the main characters, I could go through everyone but that would make for too long a review.

      Generally, I did not pick this showing of Mary Poppins for the cast, but I am grateful that I saw Scarlett Strallen in the lead role as the production comes alive when she is on stage.


      ~~~ THE SONGS ~~~

      All the songs that were in the original were also in the Broadway production. Classics such as Chim Chim Cher-ee, A Spoonful of Sugar, Practically Perfect were all sung to perfection and true to the originals.

      However, the highlight of the songs repertoire was Supercallifragilistic......I cannot wholly remember the rendition in the movie but the rendition in this musical had that little bit extra and so much energy that you were left open-mouthed. The 2 leads, Bert and Mary did not seem to take break during this song. Further to that, once you thought the song had ended, the curtain came down with the words written on the curtain. The cast came to the audience side of the curtain to continue the song at such a pace I felt I was going to burst, they did even pause for breath. The cast were so full of energy that you felt they could have gone on for a while This was definitely the best moment for me and one that I can remember most vividly. It certainly takes a high level of fitness to tread the boards that you cannot appreciate.

      There were also some new songs on the repertoire that were specifically penned for this musical and they are identified in the Showbill.

      You can see clips of the songs at either of the Mary Poppins websites at the end of the review.


      ~~~ PRODUCTION ~~~

      Across the whole production you can tell that attention to detail has been paramount and nothing has escaped this. The majority of the show takes place at the Banks' House on Cherry Tree Lane and what the set designers have done is create a cross-section of the house, showing the three floors of the Banks' house, the office of George Banks, the Banks' main bedroom, 2 flights of stairs and the attic, where the children's room is.

      This set is constructed in such a way, that when the focus is on the childrens attic room, the roof of the house is removed and the ground floor and first floor move back to leave just the children's room. This is then lowered so scenes in the children's bedroom takes place on the stage rather than suspended. The other setting is the parkside and it includes everything from park railings and benches to status that are played by the cast.

      The switching between different sets is seamless and it makes you wonder how much planning must go into something like that to make it appear so easy. Sets go up, back and sideways automatically. Mary even disappeared into an opening to the underside of the stage! Further to that, there is a scene where Mary provides her coat stand and a lamp all from her bag. I'm intrigued to know how that works and I wondered about that throughout the show.

      The highlight of this production is Mary Poppins ascending over the audience as she flies away for the final time. Of course, the actress was in a harness but she was flying above our heads. The lighting is also used to great effect as Mary disappeared when she got to the top and then re-appeared on stage in magically quick Who said special effects are only for the big screen?


      ~~~ MY THOUGHTS ~~~

      I am always in awe of how writers, producers and directors manage to transition movie productions from the screen to the stage and always pleasantly surprised. Mary Poppins is certainly no exception. I have previously seen Chicago and Beauty & the Beast on the stage. I was very disappointed with Chicago but love Beauty & the Beast. Mary Poppins is also a Disney production and it looks like Disney know how to present Mary Poppins as a stage production in the most magical and enchanting way, I do not know anyone who has not grown up with Mary Poppins during their childhood and this production took me back to being a little child. At times I had a smile on my face remembering some of the scenes from the movie when it was playing out on stage, You know that look when you are remembering a fond childhood memory? Yes, that one!

      This particular showing of the musical had me and my group entranced. We could recite all of the songs along with the production, though we had to watch in fascination as the stage production recited their version of the extended Supercallifragilistic.......

      All of the performances were great too and really helped the production move along. I really wish I could have written more in the review, but you need to experience it for yourself. You will truly be captivated. I think by now, you know what I think of this musical and I cannot rate it highly enough. The tickets were $120 (approx £80) a bit on the expensive side, but to demonstrate it's popularity, the show has been running for 3 years on Broadway so it speaks for itself. In the words of Mary Poppins, this musical is more than 'Practically Perfect...!' and if you get the opportunity to see it, go for it.

      Mary Poppins UK is touring the UK, currently in Cardiff. Mary Poppins US is on Broadway in the New Amsterdam Theatre. You will not be disappointed with either version.


      ~~~ OTHER INFORMATION ~~~

      Website: http://disney.go.com/theatre/marypoppins/

      Thank you for reading. This review will be posted on other sites by me.

      © jupiter28 2009

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        07.01.2009 00:07
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        Absolutely brilliant, well worth the money!

        I went to see Mary Poppins in the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh. The tickets were given to me as a gift, so I didn't pay for them, but had been planning on seeing the show (and travelling 2 hours each way to see it!) anyway, so was really hoping for a good night out.
        I wasn't disappointed!!

        First of all, I have to admit, I am a HUGE Disney fan, and an even bigger fan of the musicals. I think to pay the amount of money they cahrge for tickets to this, you'd have to be. That, or have small children, although the little boy in front of us actually fell asleep during the 2nd half!

        I'm not going to write out the full plotline of the show, anyone interested in going to see the show will already know the general story of Mary Poppins, and propably won't want to waste time reading about it again! I will say though, that they have changed parts of the story from the Disney version, and there was a little twist at the end that really surprised me! My sister wasn't too impressed with this though, claiming that 'they can't change the story now!'

        The thing that stood out to me most in the show was the beautiful sets - fabulously painted, and really 'took you into the story', and the special effects. It would be completely worth the money just to see the little one's (any my!) faces when Mary Poppins actually 'flies' into the crowd, and when Bert tap dances on the ceiling!
        I was also really impressed with the little child actors in the show. They used a team of little ones I believe, so that the same one wasn't used every night (must be very tiring!), and the little girl and boy we saw were outstanding!

        The musical numbers were brilliant, with all the cast really getting into them, and really looking like they were having fun!

        The only thing I was slightly disappointed in was the fact that they'd left out a few of the famous well-known songs, and replaced them with new numbers. Obviously things have to move with the times, but would have liked to have seen them keeping the favourites in!!

        Overall, this was a fabulous show, one of the best musicals I've seen, and a must for any Disney fan!

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        13.08.2008 09:30
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        excellent show if you can stand the length

        I saw this after seeing the theatre production of Disney's Lion King and loving it. Thinking another Disney theatre performance would be just as good, and the fact my Mum and her friend really enjoyed this I thoughtI was going to have a lovely time. I was wrong!

        This is one of the very few things that I've actually pre-bought tickets for at full price, normally I just go to Leicester Square and see what the deals are and go for something.

        We had very high seats but we knew this, and they didn't spoil are view, ok so we sometimes just saw the feet of people rather than their whole bodies but for the price increase of being able to see their whole body it really wasn't worth it!

        The show itself is very much the same as the film. The songs are the same as is the plot.

        The songs are very catchy and do have you singing along however the songs are too long they last forever!

        Not only do the songs last forever but the show does too, I went thinking this was a family show suitable for all however at over 3 hours even I was getting bored and ready to leave (some parents with children had already done so!).

        I saw the production in London but it is now touring and I have heard that they are saying that it isn't suitable for those under 12. I in a sense disagree with this as the story line is suitable for them, what isn't suitable is the length of the show.

        Enjoy it but be prepared for fidgity children! (and adults!)

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