September 27, 2010
Broadway Across America has opened its season with Mary Poppins at the Murat. The classic show brings the children's story to life in a musical extravaganza.
Bert, a cheerful jack-of-all-trades, acts as the show's all-seeing narrator. He is at times a painter and at others a chimney sweep, but he's always around. Nicolas Dromard plays the role with a wonderful warmth and a cocky accent is as thick as the London fog. He also wows the crowd with his gravity-defying antics and particularly shines in the show's best number, "Step In Time," an elaborate tap routine with elements of STOMP.
The show manages to capture many of the elements that made the original movie so magical, including Mary's bottomless carpet bag and rooms that help clean themselves. These tricks are difficult to pull off on a stage in front of an audience, but the production manages it smoothly.
The audience will recognize many of songs from the Disney musical, but there are are few new ones. One features toys that come to life and another has a pair of dueling nannies, neither adds much to the overall production.
At the start of the show, the Banks family finds itself in need of a new nanny and Mary Poppins fits the bill. Michael and Jane and the Banks' precocious children, played by Cade Canon Ball and Paige Simunovich in Friday's show. They're spoiled and a bit neglected by their harried parents and a strict but kind nanny is just what they need.
Mary Poppins is played by the excellent Caroline Sheen. She creates a prim and proper Mary with a mischievous spark and a delicious impertinence. Her rich voice is both strong and well-suited for the role. She can turn the simplest walk in the park into a fantastical adventure.
The sets are extravagant, sliding on and off stage or lowering from the ceiling they turn the blank canvas into a bank, park and home, all with rich depth and detail. The Banks' home adds a special dose of whimsy, unfolding like a dollhouse.
Mary Poppins is a great show to take the kids to, while being able to enjoy it as an adult. It has enough song and dance to keep the tots entertained, while providing a story with a powerful overarching message. Sometimes it's good when you're life gets shaken up a bit. It can put everything in perspective and make you realize what's really important.
Don't Miss the Show
The show runs until Sunday, Oct. 3 at the Murat Theatre so hurry to get tickets. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Murat Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.
Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Photos Courtesy of Broadway Across America