Disclaimer: I got to see Mary Poppins, meet the cast and drink half a glass of champers as a guest of the very social media/blog savvy Disney PR team. A big thank you to Julie and Disney for the night out! Now to work out how to become a theatre-reviewing blogger full-time…
Back in my yoof, I loved musical theatre. I think the first musical theatre I ever saw was a stage version of â€œThe Best Little Whorehouse in Texasâ€ at the Saraton Theatre in Grafton when I was about 5.
I’m not necessarily into”traditional” musicals – even though I love me a bit of G&S (that’s Gilbert and Sullivan to the uninitiated) and ALW (a.k.a. Andrew Lloyd Webber) I still haven’t seen Les Mis or Miss Saigon. I have, however, seen Fame 17 times in three different cities in Australia. Feel free to judge my taste from this point on ;)
My musical theatre-going days have sadly been few and far between in recent years, mostly due to the basic fact that a decent ticket will set you back $100+, and that’s before buying the all-important program (upwards of $20), let alone parking, dinner, choc top, etc etc etc.
So to get an invite to see the relatively new musical Mary Poppins FOR FREE? AWE-SOME! Better yet, I got to go along with Leigh, who’d never been out for a night at the theat-tah before.
Mary’s playing at the Capitol Theatre until at least the end of the year. Pretty amazing stuff considering there’s that thing called the global financial crisis still hanging around. Have you been to the Capitol Theatre? It’s spectacular. The auditorium is lined with statues and lamps and intricate designs and the blue ceiling is even more beautiful. (Protip: book a tour to get a decent look at it)
The cast is — to sound cliched — star-studded. Matt Lee from SYTYCD Australia plays Bert (aka the chimney sweep), Marina Prior is Mrs Banks (tho we had an understudy the night we were there), Philip Quast is Mr Banks, Debra Byrne plays the birdwoman (such a big name for just one song), Judy Connelly is the housemaid…
The all-important role of the “practically perfect” Mary Poppins is played by Verity Hunt-Ballard, a beautiful young thing who plays the role with just enough homage to Julie Andrews’ original portrayal while making the role her own. She was enchanting and perfectly pitched.
My sentimental favourite was Matt, though. I first came across Matt when he had a role in RENT back in the inaugural 1999/2000 Australian tour. It really was something to see him “all grown up” and playing the narrator role in Mary Poppins; to be singing and dancing so beautifully (there’s one bit- I won\’t give it away – but you will literally GASP at his dancing skillz at one point).
I was particularly taken by the the sets and the lighting. They did an awesome job replicating the pull-a-hatstand-out-of-the-carpet-bag scene and especially the lighting of Mary’s silhouette in the final scene (though, sadly, many may have missed it because they were watching Mary’s farewell).
Just be prepared to be disappointed that some scenes don’t make it to the stage translation. Oh, and there are some new songs, too. This is typical for movie-to-stage translations, but I know that some friends who have seen it since were mildly disappointed (that said, they loved the show so much that some of them are going to see it again).
The fun part was after the show when we got to gatecrash an after-show event backstage. 20yo me was in HEAVEN, I tell you. All those years when I stood at stage door, wondering why it was taking so long for the talent to leave the building already? Yeah, this was probably it. Everyone was lovely and didn’t show one iota of being puffed after all that singing and dancing and looking happy on stage. There were quite a few bloggers in the room and we turned into a bit of a paparazzi-scene with all our cameras (big and small) flashing away.
Check out other posts about the same night: Jodie from Mummy Mayhem, Emma from What’s in Emma’s Brain?, Trish from My Little Drummer Boys, Leigh from AbsoluteLeigh … and I just know I’m missing a couple of people. How embarrassing *blush*
Tell me, what’s your favourite musical?