Way back in the early 2000’s, Shaun bought me tickets to see Mary Poppins on stage as my birthday present. I was pretty happy with it, and really enjoyed the show. When I spotted Cameron Mackintosh was bringing it out on tour I hung on hoping for a date near London, before eventually deciding we could really do with a weekend away – and our closest venue happened to be Southampton!
Mary Poppins is one of my favourite Disney films – it’s magical, brings back fond childhood memories and of course has the wonderful Julie Andrews starring in the main role. So how well does it translate onto the stage?
Firstly, this isn’t an adaptation of the film. Many parts cross over, but it does focus on the books a little more. The focus of the film is Jane and Michael’s behaviour and relationship with their parents – and the various nannys they’ve had to squash their behaviour. Along comes Mary Poppins and the whole family goes on a magical ride while dealing with their issues, and coming out of the other side.
So what is different? Some of the songs have been rearranged, but not in a bad way. Some songs have been dropped. Some new songs have been created.
But what stays the same in Mary Poppins? The magic. Mary does go up the bannister on the stairs, she flies – several times. The classic songs are there. The first half highlight is ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ with the second half being ‘Step in Time’. ‘Chim Chiminee’ forms a narrative around the story as well. Quite frankly with these three I was delighted.
Then the cast – Zizi Strallen was wonderful – she played Mary Poppins straight, but with a good comic timing – I was often laughing out loud. She had me in tears at the end of both halves too – and only The Sound of Music makes me do that. Bert is played by Matt Lee who is brilliant – and what I liked the most, neither actor tried to be Julie Andrews or Dick Van Dyke (which I think The Sound of Music had a bit of – only Connie Fisher and Petula Clark have been the least-Julie-like Maria’s). The supporting cast were brilliant too – H loved the children who brought out plenty of giggles from her.
Here’s the trailer :
Mary Poppins is on tour right now – it’s the last night in Southampton tonight and they’re booking right up until next year. If you saw the London production, it’s exactly the same.
It’s a fabulous, magical night out. Oh, and there’s plenty of Mary Poppins merchandise for sale at the shows too – there’s even a parrot umbrella (£22 for us, I passed).
We managed to get tickets at the rear of the stalls at the Mayflower – a reasonable £35ish each. Add to that a night booked at the Ibis Budget which was a ten minute walk away and it all worked out pretty well.
For an even greater idea of what it’s like, here’s the trailer from when we saw it, starring Laura Michelle Kelly as Mary Poppins and Gavin Lee as Bert.
Check the Mary Poppins Musical dates over on the official site here – and get your tickets ordered soon!