When I was asked if I wanted to go to see Mary Poppins at the Edinburgh Playhouse I wasn’t entirely sure. Yes I used to love the Walt Disney film but that was when I was six years old and I was not convinced I would harbour the same feelings towards it now. All the same I went along with an open mind.
Any doubts I had disappeared with the opening scene. The cast were impressive, with Caroline Sheen playing the aloof yet kindly Mary Poppins to perfection alongside Daniel Crossley as chimney sweep Bert. Niamh Coombes and Edward Cooke gave worthy performances as the spoilt but lovable children Jane and Michael Banks.
All the well loved characters from the film feature along with the addition of George Banks’ old nanny Miss Andrew who provides the requisite baddie necessary in all children’s musicals and attracts an appropriate response from the audience.
I was unsure how the magic of the film would transfer onto the stage but the special effects were spectacular, with Mary Poppins flying away as she does in the film, and Bert walking up one side of the stage, along the roof and down the other side. This, along with the never ending contents of Mary’s bag and dancing statues, is sure to keep younger members of the audience intrigued.
Cameron Mackintosh’s production comes to Edinburgh for the first time after a successful three year run on London’s West End. It is a combination of the famous 1964 Walt Disney film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, and the original stories by P. L. Travers.
Classic well-known songs such as ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’, ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ and ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ take me back to my childhood but there is also the addition of new songs and a slightly adapted storyline which prevent the plot from getting dull for those who have seen the film numerous times. Accompanied by well thought out, impressively performed choreography the musical numbers are every bit as good as you would expect.
Overall Mary Poppins provides great entertainment for the whole family and any fans of musical theatre. Catchy songs, astounding special effects and a spectacular finale all combine to give a ‘Practically Perfect’ performance which will leave you singing all the way home.