She’s a firm family favourite made famous by Julie Andrews’ practically perfect performance – so how would Mary Poppins fare on the stage?
Prosecco & Pie popped along to Newcastle’s Theatre Royal last night to find out more…
The curtain rose, the stage was set, the orchestra playing an old familiar song…
It took me 15-20 minutes or so to decide whether I liked the “new” Mary Poppins, played enthusiastically by actress Zizi Strallen – not because she wasn’t a talented performer, mostly because it took my brain a little while to rewire and imagine someone other than Julie Andrews in her place. Once you get over this initial comparison (don’t compare – they’re two very different beasts) you’ll love her.
Her perfect prim outfits, her trademark up-do and touch of magic were all wonderfully present and preserved in the stage production while still leaving room for Zizi to make her mark as Mary. Witty, self-assured and sometimes sassy, she made even the most hardened of us laugh and smile at this family friendly comedy. In fact, looking around I noticed there were distinctly more adults than children here to see the 7.30pm weekday show.
Whats more, the creatives behind the stage production made magic with the lighting, sound and set. I really don’t want to spoil it too much – but you’ll notice the little touches and find yourself thinking “wow…”
For me, the true magic lay in the audience’s reaction. An older gentleman sat behind me with his family couldn’t help but hum and sing along and tap his feet as the familiar soundtrack blared out into the auditorium. When the time came for the curtain to fall one last time, my heart almost burst when a younger guest jumped up out of his seat in rapturous applause – the best part came when he unbeknown to him, he looked around to see if he was still the only one giving a standing ovation and thought he’d inspired the whole auditorium to stand up too!
A joyful, totally feel-good, family friendly night out – Mary Poppins the Musical definitely hits all of the right notes in terms of cast, costume and stage production.
The production is here to stay for a mammoth run at the Theatre Royal from the 9th September until the 29th of October so you have plenty of time to grab a ticket.