Practically Perfect

Unfortunately this is again another very overdue review. Between photographing models and weddings, as well as packing to move into my new flat and keeping on top of my reading list for uni, things have gone a bit mad. All the same, I hope you enjoy my review of this incredible show.

Sat waiting for Mary Poppins to start, I had a quick scan of the program and souvenir brochure. Not much of the reading caught my eye, except for a page quoted from P.L. Travers, talking about her original book and the fact that she ‘never wrote for children’. After spending my first semester of this year studying children’s literature, and having seen the famous film Saving Mr. Banks, I found this particularly interesting. However, there was one line that stuck with me throughout the night: ‘I have been a child’. This was spoken by both Travers and Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are. And for any child at The Mayflower last night, a world of pure magic and imagination unfolded before them on the stage.

Before the curtains even opened, the audience could see smoke wriggling from the chimneys of every home in London (see below).

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And to truly set the enchanting scene for the night, No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane appeared to be a paper dolls’ house that opened up to reveal the Banks family living inside. This emerged from the back of the stage, revealing the complex, 3D construction, which allowed us to see the living area, the kitchen and Jane and Michael’s bedroom. This was the most amazing piece of touring set I have ever seen, rotating and moving to uncover different parts of the house.

Although there were not the expected penguins in waistcoats or carousel ponies, this play was not short of magic. From Mary Poppins’ famous bag to wall-walking and slight-of-hand, this brought a fresh new take to the classic, whilst still drawing on some of its original charm.

Matt Lee captured the fun, energetic and dynamic character of Bert, embodying the entire play within a single character. He showed an array of talent, from fantastic vocals to some amazing tap dancing! He brought Bert to life, especially in the old favourite, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” which was a colourful feast for the eyes.

Many members of the audience expressed disappointment at the lyrics of some of the most iconic songs; however, this brought more fun, laughter and excitement to the experience, making a refreshing change from the classic we all know and love.

To watch Mary Poppins visit www.marypoppins.co.uk for information on your local venue. The remaining shows will visit Plymouth, Newcastle, Cardiff and Bradford. For tickets to other Mayflower Theatre shows, visit their website or phone 02380 711811.

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