Mary Poppins @ Festival Theatre, Adelaide 5/7/2023

It has taken a while but finally Mary Poppins the musical has opened in Adelaide for a strictly limited season. Was the wait worth it? Absolutely, a resounding yes and even my twelve year old described it as an amazing night she will never forget and is already planning to see it again. This musical has everything you would expect and more, appealing to all ages. It is high energy, exciting and engages the audience from start to end with plenty of catchy sing-a-longs and brilliantly choreographed dance routines.

The musical is based on the P.L. Travers novel and original film which Disney and Cameron Mackintosh have turned this extravaganza in to a supercalifragilistic production with a stellar all-Australian cast. The story follows Mr and Mrs Banks who desperately seek the services of a nanny who can ‘manage’ and pull their two mischievous children in to line. It isn’t long until they realise that their lives had been influenced for the better by umbrella wielding nanny Mary Poppins.

The performance commences with the black and white back drop of Cherry Tree Lane creating the feel of a children’s story book. From here the Banks household is revealed in an array of colour and multi-level rooms where surprise, surprise! Another nanny has left.

Stefanie Jones who plays Mary Poppins is ‘practically perfect in every single way’ fully embracing all the quirks of the character and her counterpart Jack Chambers who plays Bert charmed the audience as the likeable larrikin chimney sweep. Patti Newton stole the show at one point for her incredible performance as the Bird Woman and it is evident that musical theatre is still coursing through her veins.

Songs such as Step In Time, Jolly Holliday and of course the big one Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious were big moments with the crowd getting involved clapping away. No doubt it was going to be interesting how they would treat such iconic songs from the film but you couldn’t help but be impressed.

The production itself is next level pulling plenty of tricks out of the carpet bag to simulate the Mary Poppins magic. It was quite magical how Mary Poppins exited the stage for the final time and a moment from the performance you will not forget. There are still plenty of important messages to take away from this performance being the importance of family and that fractured relationships can be mended with the true inner qualities still exist from within. We thought it was definitely Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! See you at Cherry Tree Lane! A must see for 2023!

Theatre Review By Rob Lyon

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