finally arrived! (writes our critic Mark Shenton)
40 years after PL Travers Mary Poppins became a film sensation,
this tale of a singing, flying nanny has at last taken to the West
End skies, lighting them up with a tale of merry mischief as she
helps to heal a dysfunctional, uptight family.
that sense, this is a very modern, moral musical but it's
been beautifully disguised in the hinterlands of the past (in this
case, London at the turn of the last century).
production has cost £9m to bring to the stage
unhappy Banks household an investment banker, his wife who
used to be an actress, and their two needy young children - have
gone through six nannies in four months before Mary Poppins mysteriously
materialises to sort them out.
in The Sound of Music or Peter Pan, the arrival of
a stranger is a catalyst for change and a transformation of parental
just one of the layers that Julian Fellowes' script thoughtfully
brings out, but Richard Eyre's production (co-directed with choreographer
Matthew Bourne) finely balances lightness with the shade that these
joyous songs from the film (by Richard and Robert Sherman), such
as 'Chim Chim Cher-ee', 'A Spoonful of Sugar' and of course 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious',
have been cleverly supplemented by new songs from British songwriting
duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe that explore a more emotional
the show delivers spectacle in spades but also has more tender moments
of character-driven revelation.
the parents, David Haig and Linzi Hateley bring a poignant ache
to their portrayal of the emotional distance in their marriage.
of the Poppins: Kelly is a "major new musical star"
Laura Michelle Kelly in the title role is the key to unlocking the
joys of family life, and also providing the real joy of this production.
not just playing a "practically perfect" nanny as she
announces herself to be, but Kelly as pretty in voice as
she is in manner and movement is a major new musical star
in the theatrical firmament.
also perfectly partnered by Gavin Lee as her chimney sweep sidekick
Bert who steals the show with a tap-dance that he performs
while hanging upside down from the top of the stage!
Mary Poppins is at the Prince Edward Theatre,
Old Compton Street W1. Tickets: £15 - £49. Box office:
0870 850 9191. Booking to Sep 2005. Web:
Poppins the Musical (The
BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites)
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Absolutely I thought it was uttery fantastic. The sets, choreography, songs andvspecial effects were simply magical.