By Steff WillisTuesday 1 Nov 2022TheatreReading Time: 3 minutes
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Mary Poppins has arrived in Brisbane after a critically acclaimed season in Sydney.
Adapted from the beloved stories by Queenslander PL Travers and the original film; the tale of everyone’s favourite Nanny comes to life on stage in a riot of colour and whimsy.
For those who aren’t familiar, Mary Poppins is about a magical nanny who blows in to 17 Cherry Tree Lane on the east wind to look after the Banks children (Jane and Michael) and ends up helping Mr and Mrs Banks as well. Mary Poppins proceeds to take Jane and Michael on magical adventures throughout London where they meet Bert (a jack of all trades) and other quirky characters. Along the way they learn powerful and absurd lessons about life, kindness and with a little help from Mary Poppins, the family’s dysfunction is restored.
Stefanie Jones delivers an especially prim and proper performance as Mary Poppins while Jack Chambers delivers a grounded and charming Bert, the tap-dancing chimney sweeping painting lamp lighter.
Both Stefanie Jones and Jack Chambers hail from Brisbane and first performed together as children in The Sound of Music in Brisbane.
Audiences will sympthasise and connect with Mrs Winifred Banks, played by Lucy Maunder who is struggling to run the Banks family without a nanny and without the support of her traditionalist husband, George Banks, portrayed by Tom Wren. Dorothea Seierup was impressive as young Jane Banks however Fraser Goodreid as Michael Banks steals the show, delivering the laughs and most of the shows more sentimental moments.
Mary Poppins also features Patti Newton whose husband Bert Newton passed away a year ago. Patti Newton plays the “bird woman” in one of the more emotional scenes of the show.
Audiences will be blown away by the sets and effects including a revolving 17 Cherry Tree Lane and Mary Poppins taking flight right into the audience. Mary Poppin’s “magic” will delight and even have you scratching your head. In these moments, it’s less like attending a musical and more like watching a magic show.
Those who grew up watching Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke dance on the rooftops of London and are familiar with the classic songs like Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious will have to resist the temptation to get up and sing and dance along with the talented all Australian cast. It’s nostalgic and playful and while it’s not a direct adaption of the film, it hits most of the key beats that fans would expect.
Newcomers, however, may struggle to connect to the characters and a story that dips in and out of realism, slapstick comedy and absurdity. While originally a children’s film, it seems unclear whether the stage show is designed for children or adults and instead attempts to reach those “young at heart” with varying success.
Families who are considering taking their kids along for their first theatre experience should be mindful of a scene where clowns and other toys come to life in Playing the Game that some children (let’s be honest, adults as well) might find scary or unsettling. With a running time of 2 hours and 50 minutes (including intermission) it’s a family friendly experience suitable for those aged 8 and up.
For more information and to purchase tickets, ‘spit spot’ over to the QPAC website.
Feature Image: Mary Poppins cast performing Anything Can Happen (Photo: Daniel Boud)