The astonishing, amazing, astounding, really, “Mary Poppins,” which opened Friday night at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina will absolutely charm and entertain you… in the most delightful way! The incredible production, directed by Casey Colgan, with choreography by Nic Thompson, and further seen to by the huge production staff which worked in perfect concert with the gifted cast was, in a word, spot-on.
The child in me was transfixed throughout the entire show…especially because all of all of the magic parts…Mary soars, kites fly, all kinds of people go up and down the chimneys, perch on rooftops, even! Then toys take on human character, stilts are involved, animals, too. Mary’s bottomless valise is mystical, and it offered lamps and plants and all sorts of things. Also, think my child side loved it because Michael and Jane Banks, about whom this story revolves, are amazing, if not magical, children, too.
The adult in me was captivated by this enduring musical theater production. First, who doesn’t love ‘Mary Poppins,?” But beyond that, the number of times I was dazzled, again and again, by the stunning performances of the carefully prepared performers…the leads and the supporting cast. How I appreciated the stage management…oh and again and again, the eye-blinking costumes.
Just in case you don’t remember the details of the story, based on the P.L. Travers children’s books along with one of the most loved Walt Disney Films in history, here’s the flow of the show.
Mary Poppins, somewhat uncannily, arrives at the home of the Banks family, to become their new nanny…to straighten out the muddle caused by the departure of the previous nanny. But, because of the book by Julian Fellowes, we all know, wink-wink, there is a back story which is far more involved than that!
Through the evening, in addition to the Banks family…Winifred and George, the mother and father, and the children, Mary Poppins handles “Practically Perfectly” the unforgettable household staff; as well as the enigmatic Bert, who escorts Mary and the children through the storyline which features close-up encounters with the most graceful dancing statues; a crop of tapping chimney sweeps; a sympathetic, ragged bird lady; and an array of crotchety, murky bankers, and dare I say, much, much more. Through it all, we meet and re-meet the unique, talented, energetic and colorful, cast, at every turn.
But, do look forward to your favorite Mary Poppins memories …. “Practically Perfect,” “Jolly Holiday,” “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim Chiminey,” “Brimstone and Treacle,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “Step in Time.” The stage, in all cases, comes to life in the most unimaginable way.
There are dozens of staggeringly heartfelt sequences of gracious theatrical brilliance as well as delicious, unrelenting, frenzied activity with occasional almost Cirque du Soleil spins. Again, the showstopping costumes, which arrive in every design and in every hue on the palette spectrum, contribute, enormously to every scene.
There is, of course, a really big finish, and the responsive, and enthusiastic audience which, by the way, had been on their collective feet a number of times through the production, clapping, cheering and whistling, was standing and singing in place, all, part of the production, in a way.
Looking forward to Agatha Christie’s “THE MOUSETRAP, “ 2/9 TO 2/28….” DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS,” 5/4 – 5/29, “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET,” 6-21 TO 7/30 at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.