Sophie Knight

Practically perfect! Mary Poppins at the Theatre Royal

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A show that sets the tone for a practically perfect night – in every way!

Mary Poppins filled Newcastle’s Theatre Royal with joy, singing and laughter for a pleasant two hours. As one of Walt Disney’s biggest film productions the show had high expectations going from screen to stage, therefore the bar was set high for producer and co-creator Cameron Mackintosh. Poppins definitely didn’t disappoint.

A gorgeous production from start to finish, the first thing you noticed is the set, which was transported in 18 trailers around the country. There was clearly no expense spared (explaining the high-ticket prices), as the stage was bouncing with colour and detail. There were two prominent backdrops, Jane and Michael Banks’ house on Cherry Tree Lane, which opened up like a classic storybook, or the park, which included metal gates and a statue. When Matt Lee, who played Bert’s painting came to life the attention to detail on the wings didn’t go unnoticed.

This visual spectacle had everything expected. Anything can happen if you let it, even down to Mary Poppins (Zizi Strallen), flying across the stage and over the audience to the delight of many young children. There was the well-known bottomless bag, an iconic part in the novel, which the magical nanny pulled out a hat stand and a plant.

Matt Lee performed an astounding tap performance during Step in Time and it was a particular memorable moment as the stage was flooded with tap dancers, without one putting a foot out of line.

Supercalifragilistic! This show-stopping scene was without a doubt the leading act. A smile was spread widely across my face and it seemed infectious to the rest of the audience. The lightning-fast lyrics were the point everyone was waiting for, evidently, when the majority of the audience were on their feet clapping and singing along.

The children, who seemed to have the most air time out of the whole cast, didn’t put a foot wrong and from the outset their cheeky personalities shone through their traditional costumes.

Chim, Chim Cheer-ee for Mary Poppins and co!

The tour, which won the best regional production award, continues in Bradford.

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