On Friday 22nd November I went to the Practically Perfect Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre. I had received tickets to this for my 20th Birthday back in June, so it was nice that the day had finally arrived!! This musical was much better than I expected it to be! Left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling afterwards; like so many Disney musicals do! It was so colourful and vibrant with clever staging illusions which made a fun watch! Let’s dive into this musical!
First up we have Mary Poppins herself, Zizi Strallen who was returning to the role after playing the role 3 times (UK Tour, Ireland and Dubai ). I thought Zizi did a great job in this role! I really enjoyed her singing voice, I think it was perfect for the role of Mary Poppins with a lot of operatic tendencies. One of Mary’s big songs called ‘Practically Perfect’ was one of the umpteen new ones written for the stage show; despite not knowing it before I really liked it and its context within the stage show. Next, we have the classic ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ which I really enjoyed especially the practical effects happening throughout the song. My favourite has got to be ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ as it was such a big and energetic number to watch and Zizi did a great job performing it. Mary’s final big song was ‘Anything Can Happen’ which was another really good new song for the musical, I enjoyed Zizi’s vocals in this song. I really enjoyed Zizi’s relationship with Charlie who plays Burt, they had a really fun friendship where you couldn’t help but smile in the scenes that they shared. Zizi also had a great friendship with the children playing Jane and Michael Banks (Adelaide and Zachary). Overall I really liked Zizi as Mary Poppins and thought she did a great job in the role.
Next up we have Charlie Stemp as the lovable Bert. This was a perfect casting choice. Charlie was born to play this role. During the big group numbers, my eyes were always drawn to his performance as he was such a good dancer – you could tell that he took dance seriously and trained yet was a natural talent. Charlie opens the show with Chim Chim Cher-ee, whilst I was unsure about Charlie (and the whole musical) to begin with I grew to love it all. I really enjoyed his performance in the song ‘Jolly Holiday’ – a duet with Zizi, I think that he did a great job at being a triple threat during that song all with a big smile on his face. My favourite song that Charlie performed has got to be the song ‘Step in Time’, the song Burt performs on the rooftops with the other chimney sweeps; the dancing talent and personality shone off Charlie in that performance which made it something special to witness. As mentioned I enjoyed Charlie and Zizi’s song Jolly Holiday, I also enjoyed their onstage bond and friendship, Charlie’s cheekiness with Zizi’s uptightness made it really fun to watch as Bert was like a naughty young puppy trying to see what he can get away with. I also really liked Charlie’s bond with Adelaide and Zachary, I felt like Bert was the big brother figure to them both…whilst not always more mature than Michael. We had a lot of scenes of Charlie and the kids yet I always wanted more because they were always so happy. I’ve gotta mention a cute moment that Adelaide and Charlie shared during the curtain call…after they had done all their bows and the curtain was going down, I remember seeing Charlie and Adelaide doing the big fish, little fish, cardboard box dance – which was a cute moment that I thought I would add in! Overall I LOVED Charlie as Bert, he was born to play this role! Make sure you go and witness it!
Moving on we have Joseph Millson and Amy Griffiths who played the Banks parents, these were some more enjoyable characters. I liked the family dynamic that they both brought to their scenes. Joseph was the typical stern and hard-working Mr Banks and Amy was the softer and kinder Mrs Banks. I really enjoyed both of their solos. Joseph’s solo was called ‘Good For Nothing’. I thought Joseph’s vocals during the song were really strong yet were sung with emotion as this song you learn more about George and how he is really feeling during the second act. The next song that follows is Amy’s solo called ‘Being Mrs Banks’ – a song that Winnifred sings about wanting to be there for her husband when he’s feeling low, like Joseph she had great vocals that were sung with a lot of heart. During act 2 we got to see what made George the way he is via his old and scary nanny coming back which was a nice touch of backstory. I enjoyed the relationship they had with the kids and their family bond felt strong and like they were an actual family at times. Overall I really enjoyed these two and thought they did a great job in their roles.
Finally, we have Adelaide and Gabriel who were on for Jane and Michael that night. They were great! Adelaide was the supersensible Jane and Gabriel was the fun and cheeky Michael. I thought they had a realistic sibling relationship on stage, felt natural as well. I really liked their song ‘Perfect Nanny’ – a song where they list out everything they want in their nanny, it was a sweet song which let them show off their personalities. I enjoyed the songs that they shared with Zizi, such as ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ and ‘Practically Perfect’, with ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ it is such a classic song and they all did really well with it. Practically Perfect is a new song for the musical for the stage show, it is an introduction to Mary’s ways as a nanny; the kids had a lot of personality in this song as well – it’s always nice when you get to see kids be their true selves on stage. As I said in Charlie’s paragraph I enjoyed the relationship they had with Bert as well. Overall I really liked these kids in their roles and think they did a really great job! Can see them both having a long career!
Jolly Holiday: This was a lovely bright and colourful performance to witness, filled with great dancing and smiles all around.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: This song is such a classic, it was probably my favourite song from the musical. The staging and choreography for this song were excellent and it was just an all-around fun performance.
Step in Time: The dancing in this song was incredible, no one was out of time – which if you know the musical is very impressive!
The costumes: This isn’t just one thing but the costumes in this production were so bright and colourful which really added to the performances.
Mary Poppins ‘Flying’ At the end of the musical before the curtain call Mary ‘flies’ above the audience and it was a really nice touch, I imagine if you are a young kid that would be mindblowing!
This was a really fun musical! If you love the movie or the book you’ll love this musical! It’s a great one to take the kids too…what’s not to love?! I’d go again just to see Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!