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Monday, 01 February 2016 (3074596)
Mary Poppins is a practically perfect show
by Henry James

DISNEY always sprinkles magic on their shows and they make going to see their musicals a real experience for the audience.

No better is this shown in Circle of Life in The Lion King where Julie Taymor’s beautifully designed animals first enter the stage.

Mary Poppins was last in Manchester in 2008 and the show has returned to the city and can be seen at The Palace Theatre until March 5.

Expect some changes and some new songs from the 1964 film which starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. In this stage production Mrs Banks has aspirations of being an actress, while in the film she was a member of Emmeline Pankhurst's Votes for Women suffragette movement,

The show is about a nanny who appears at the house of Mr and Mrs Banks, played by Milo Twomey and Rebecca Lock, and changes their lives in many ways. 

Zizi Strallen is perfectly cast in the part of Mary Poppins and has a twinkle in her eye. Aussie Matt Lee plays Bert with enthusiasm and the Banks children Lucy Simmonds and Lewis Fernée are not unnerved to perform in such a grand theatre as The Palace.

Among the highlights of the show are the singing of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (which starts off slowly and then builds up to a terrific pace) and Step in Time, which sees one of the cast members climb up the side of the stage and dance on the ceiling upside down!

Some of the new songs, including Anything Can Happen and Practically Perfect, are as catchy as the originals, but one or two, for example, Playing The Game, take a bit of getting used to.

The replacement nanny to Mary Poppins, Miss Andrew, is terrifically over the top and is played well by Penelope Woodman.

Expect some aerial action throughout the musical as well, which was met with enthusiastic applause on the night I went to see it.

This is a practically perfect show. 9/10


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