Review: Mary Poppins (Mirvish, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh)


I watched Mary Poppins at the Princess of Wales Theatre at its sold out opening night in Toronto last night. I’m going to get straight to the point and say it blew me away. The only thing that would have made it better is if I could be seven years old again! The production did a great job of reinventing this childhood musical classic. In fact, I have to say that there are changes to the original film that I felt helped translate it flawlessly to the stage and made it exponentially better for the medium.

Everything about this show is pure magic. I can’t get my mind around how they pulled some of this stuff off. I felt transported into the world of Mary Poppins. I didn’t see this show; I was part of an experience. Everyone in the production is stellar and bring the show together with their impeccably choreographed dancing.

I usually love talking about the props and set changes because they add so much to a show, but there is no way I can do it justice without ruining some of the wow moments, so I’m going to skip it and say that it’s beyond imagination. The costumes by Bob Crowley are stunning and capture the essence of the era and the movie very well.

Rachel Wallace is amazing as Mary Poppins and fits the role to a tee. She embodies the prim yet playful and cheeky nature of her character perfectly. I wish I could name every cast member but the list is so long that I have to leave people out. However, I have to say Nicolas Dromard, Blythe Wilson, Valerie Boyle and Q. Smith who play: Bert, Winifred Banks, Mrs. Brill and Miss Andrews, respectively, stole the show. The children played by Dakota Ruiz and Camden Angelis are funny and adorable.

My show partner, Kerry-Ann, also loved this show and couldn’t stop raving about the magnificence of the set. She made a very valid point about the fact that the timing of this show couldn’t be better in terms of the current economic environment. Some people may be struggling financially and this show brings home the importance of focusing on family over material things. The underlying message is: as long as we have somebody to love and cherish everything will be all right.

From what I saw, everyone in the audience including myself had a giant smile plastered on their faces throughout the show. It was impossible not be drawn in. It seemed like both adults and kids were enchanted by it and I have to say we didn’t hear a single peep from any of the kids during this two and a half hour show. There was thunderous applause after each scene and the show ended with a standing ovation.

If you do go see this show, and you absolutely must, bring a sweater. I think they had the air-conditioning on and it was a bit chilly in there. Other than that, the show was beyond anything I could ever imagine and I think every child (and adult) should get a chance to see it and be a part of the magic of theatre.

Details

Mary Poppins plays at Princess of Wales Theatre (260 King St. W) until January 8, 2012
– Shows on Tue- Sat 7:30pm; Wed, Sat & Sun 2pm (No performances: Dec 24, 7.30pm; Dec 25, 2pm Added performance on Thu Dec 22, 2pm)
– Tickets range from $38.50-$185 (varies by dates and times)
– Tickets are available online

Photo credit to Joan Marcus. In photo Nicolas Dromard.