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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

'Mary Poppins' is positively supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

It’s a rare occasion that I’m left speechless at the theater, but the production of “Mary Poppins” currently showing at the Overture Center completely blew me away. This show follows the classic story, originally written as childrens’ books by P.L. Travers, about a whimsical British nanny put in charge of two troublesome children, George and Jane Banks.

Mr. Banks, a busy banker, does not have time for his family, specifically the mischief and nonsense of the children. Mrs. Banks is a homemaker who is, unfortunately, unfocused on the children as well. After their old nanny leaves thanks to the misdeeds of the kids, the two write an advertisement for a new one.

Although Mr. Banks tosses it aside, somehow a mysterious visitor appears to the family offering to care for the children on the terms laid out in their ad. The story unfolds with Mary Poppins’ classic magical purse, strict but amusing rules and all her wild adventures with her partner-in-crime, Bert.

This tour of “Mary Poppins” is exactly the way Kerry Conte described it in her Daily Cardinal interview last week—it’s a massive, high-energy production that encompasses not only the movie but also everything you love about the books. “Mary Poppins” absolutely lived up to its hype and potential.

There was not a single character that did not completely wow the audience. Beginning with the children, both George and Jane are extremely hard characters to play. Not only are they in almost every single scene, but they also never just passively sit in the background. They sing and dance along with the rest of the cast for the entirety of the show.

Alexa Shae Niziak and Lucas Schultz came alive as the Banks children. Their voices both lend themselves accordingly to the music and their dance moves were more than up to par. Mr. and Mrs. Banks, played by Chris Hoch and Conte respectively, embodied the parents and their journey towards becoming members of a family. The progression of the pair was really showcased by the actors in their mannerisms, tones and actions.

Con O’Shea-Creal as Bert played the perfect companion to Madeline Trumble’s Mary Poppins. His enthusiasm for adventure and love for surprises helped to give the show a strong sense of nostalgia for the exploratory days of youth. One of his featured songs, perhaps one of the most well known songs in the show, was a blast to watch. Starring an incredible dancing ensemble who tapped their away across London rooftops, “Step In Time” also featured O’Shea-Creal walking up and across the sides and ceiling of the stage, all while still singing and dancing sideways and upside down. Needless to say, that number wildly impressed the entire audience.

As for Trumble, she truly embodied the character that Julie Andrews so famously perfected. Trumble was the perfect mix of sass, mystery, enthusiasm and pure musical and dancing talent. I had exceptionally high standards for her performance and she reached above and beyond them. With her excellent Mary Poppins-esque stance and token parrot umbrella, Trumble was everything I could have asked for in the character. Another character to watch out for is the smaller role of Mrs. Brill, played by Tregoney Shepherd, whose hilarious biography in the program matched her housemaid’s feisty persona.

If the incredible cast and historical story isn’t enough to convince you to see this production, certainly the music should be. For this performance, a few songs have been adapted and added by writer Anthony Drewe and his collaboration partner, George Stiles. All of the classics stayed including “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Jolly Holiday” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Some new songs include “Practically Perfect,” a great tune about Mary Poppins and her perfection, and “Brimstone and Treacle,” a hilarious ballad about punishing children with bad medicine.

Every song is high energy with many props and characters and all were tremendously well executed. Another fantastic trait of the production that tends to slide by the wayside in other shows is the set. Every scene had a unique design with incredible details and lighting to mimic the music and attitude. The transitions between scenes were also extremely smooth and quick, giving the audience just enough time to appreciate the final notes of one song before moving into another.

In short, I cannot say enough good things about “Mary Poppins.” For me, every aspect of the show was directly on point and left the whole audience wishing they could fly away to Old London and have an adventure with Mary.

Mary Poppins” is playing at Overture Theater through Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at overturecenter.com.

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