Review by: Heather Evens
If you know anything about the story of Mary Poppins, you’ll know it’s infused with magic. So on my way to the theatre for opening night of The Arts Club’s production of Mary Poppins, I was wondering how they were going to stage certain scenes. For example, how are they going to manage the umbrella and carpet bag? How are they going to make the ‘cleaning up’ scene work? And, how are they going to do the park, chimneys and rooftops? Well, it took only about fifteen minutes into the show for me to get my answers. And they were good answers.
The show was truly magical. Everything you’d expect from the tale of Mary Poppins was here. From the wonderful visual effect, to the incredible prop work, to the Technicolor-esque set – Mary Poppins’ magical world came to life in front of our eyes. And if the enthusiastic standing ovation at the end of the show was any indication, the audience on opening night sure enjoyed themselves.
Never seen the movie or read the stories as a child? Here’s the gist of the storyline: There’s a family who’s having troubles; the children are so misbehaved they can’t keep a nanny; Mary Poppins is a nanny who arrives just in the nick of time to help straighten out the family’s troubles; Mary’s best friend in town is a chimney sweep named Bert; Mary and Bert take the children around town, teaching them about life; magical things happen around Mary Poppins; there’s dancing and singing. Okay, so the dancing and singing aren’t really part of the storyline; they’re what make this a musical production. And they’re an important part of what makes this show so magical.
In my humble opinion, I’d say The Arts Club nailed this production! In Mary’s own words, she’s “practically perfect in every way.” I have no argument to the contrary. Even if you think you know this story, I think this production will let you see family-friendly Mary Poppins in a new, magical, way.
Mary Poppins runs through January 4 at the Stanley Theatre on Granville Street. Tickets and information are available at artsclub.com.