Mary Poppins is one of my favourite films, and when films I love are adapted for the stage I tend to feel a mixture of excitement and nerves. No nerves were needed for this production.
This adaptation, directed by Richard Eyre, was just as magical as the film. There were some changes to the story as the writer (Julian Fellowes) had taken some elements from P L Travers’ original books, but this only added to the magic and with the exception of laughing Uncle Albert I didn’t miss anything from the film at all. As well as the much loved songs by the Sherman brothers there were some additional songs written by George Stiles and Andrew Drewe, including the catchy Practically Perfect and inspiring Anything Can Happen. The choreography, by Matthew Bourne, was fantastic, and more was added with this particular cast as Mary and Bert (Zizzi Strallen and Matt Lee) were particularly gifted dancers. Strallen was a wonderful Mary, and managed to keep the spirit of Julie Andrews’ portrayal without just copying, and also put her own stamp on the character.
This production more than lived up to the film and there were plenty of special effects to mesmerise the audience. Definitely of my favourite stage productions.