Review: Mary Poppins The Musical (Cardiff)
I do love going to see shows at the theatre. ‘Mary Poppins The Musical’ has been one of the ones that I’ve wanted to see for a long time, but never got around to it. When I saw that it was coming to the Wales’ Millennium Centre in Cardiff, I knew I had to go. I bought the tickets in 2015 as a Christmas present for my mother and had to explain that we wouldn’t be seeing the show in January ’16 but January ’17! Talk about forward planning. Although we had a long time to wait, it was totally worth it.
We had a girls night out as my mother’s friend and her 2 daughters also joined us. We had amazing seats in the second row. I don’t think I’ve ever been sat so close. The tickets were expensive, so my heart sank when I saw a row of really young children sat directly behind us, looking as if they’d come to see a panto. I don’t have any objection to kids going to see a show, but I did get a bit pissed off when the back of my chair was being kicked. Not only that, but I had running commentary from the mother “ooh umberella…ooh hat…ooh chimney sweep…ooh cake” – you get the general idea! Added with whining from the children about them not liking the sweets they’d been given.
Was it any good?
Despite the running commentary and seat kicking moaning-child, YES! It was absolutely amazing. I remember seeing the film when I was younger and recently enjoyed the film ‘Saving Mr Banks’, which is a story all about the making of the film. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, ‘Mary Poppins The Musical’ is influenced by the film, of course with added scenes and musical numbers, which are so good.
Of course, the classic songs ‘Spoonful of Sugar’,’Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ (my fave), ‘Feed The Birds’, ‘Step In Time’ and others all feature. There are some new songs too, from ‘Anything Can Happen’ to ‘Practically Perfect’ which was performed at the ‘Royal Variety Performance’ in 2015. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll remember the measuring tape saying how Mary Poppins measured at being “practically perfect in every way” and she really is!
Who stars in the show?
Playing the part of Mary Poppins was Zizi Strallen (as featured in the above YouTube video). A brilliant actress who has done the role justice. After doing some Googling, I discovered Zizi is the niece of Bonnie Langford, and her sisters Scarlett, Summer and Sasi are also actresses (with Summer having previously played Mary Poppins too).
Playing the role of Bert is Australian actor Matt Lee. Despite being an Aussie, he does have a pretty good cockney accent which (at times) slips back into an Australian accent. Completely forgivable though as his amazing energy and awesome dancing is on point.
From what I can remember in the film, the children were badly behaved and rude. In the show, it seemed to be emphasised more until Mary Poppins worked her magic of course.
The choreography is brilliant throughout. I have no idea how they were able to do all the movements and spelling to ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. I absolutely loved the tap dancing routine from Bert, Mary and the chimney sweeps at the end. The special effects are also something worth noting in this production. I won’t spoil it for you but trust me, you’ll be left in awe.
Shoutout to the costume design and stage design people, too. Each transitioned seamlessly. Banks’ house included some hilarious gliding up the stairs. The children’s bedroom included some magical moments from Mary Poppins’ bag and the toys coming to life. Let’s not forget the rooftops of London too, absolutely incredible. The attention to detail is insane and so realistic.
I would definitely recommend seeing the show, so if you haven’t got tickets hurry and get some here. The last show is this Saturday 14th January and there are limited tickets available. If you don’t manage to see ‘Mary Poppins The Musical’ in Cardiff, you’ll have a bit further to travel. After Saturday, the show will be travelling to Zurich.
Featured Image Source