“Mary Poppins” delighted audiences of all ages Tuesday night at the Overture Center. The show was different from the Disney film, adding scenes viewers might have been unfamiliar with but were nonetheless enjoyable. The audience was filled with a plethora of adorable young girls decked out in Mary Poppins costumes, ready to get swept away by the excitement of the musical. However, the musical was not entirely geared toward children. Many of the scenes were very trippy and of the “Alice in Wonderland” variety. When watching this at an older age, the very center of the plot becomes different; the heart of the story is based around Mary Poppins’ employers, Mr. and Mrs. Banks.
The musical is based around a wonderful and charmingly unique nanny, Mary Poppins, who comes to rescue the Banks family from themselves. Considering the amazing Julie Andrews starred in the original film production, Mary Poppins’ shoes are hard to fill. Madeline Trumble, who played Mary Poppins, had a beautiful voice. While she nailed the character’s quirky charm, she lacked the overall sparkle of the musical’s namesake.
The most impressive part of the play was the variety of sets. They were elaborate and intricate, like an old-fashioned dollhouse. The special effects were also stellar – Mary Poppins actually flew! The special effects were clearly geared toward the younger audience, though they wowed the entire crowd. During the number “Step In Time,” Bert was suspended in air and made to look like he was walking upside down. The special effects brought the magic of “Mary Poppins” to life.
Each of the smaller characters, from the children Jane and Michael Banks, to Bert the chimney sweep, was spectacular. They had their own talents and shone whenever onstage. But the heart of the show was Mr. and Mrs. Banks. Mr. Banks’ acting stole the show, but the role of Mrs. Banks tugged at the heartstrings. Mr. and Mrs. Banks start the show as a couple that has lost their way. Mr. Banks, played by Chris Hoch, is completely caught up in his job and pays no attention to his family. Mrs. Banks, played by Kerry Conte, tries her hardest to please her husband but to no avail. When Mary Poppins arrives, she shakes things up and makes Mr. Banks realize what’s really important in life.
Overall, “Mary Poppins” was a wonderful show. There were a few unnecessary scenes or scenes that went on too long such as “Playing The Game” where Mary Poppins makes the children’s toys come to life, causing anyone in the audience with a fear of clowns to have nightmares for weeks. The choreography and special effects were clearly targeted at the show’s younger audience. But the performance had something for those of all ages, a beautiful love story between a married couple for the older crowd and a tale about magic for the youngsters. This rendition of “Mary Poppins” was much wackier and more hypnotic than other versions, kind of like traditional Disney meets director Tim Burton’s less creepy cousin. The music was charming and catchy, causing the audience to leave the show smiling. In short, “Mary Poppins” was “practically perfect in every way.”