Thursday 29th December 2016, and I’m back at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay, for my 9th performance of this very impressive musical, Mary Poppins.
For today’s evening show we have Maia West as Jane Banks with Cameron Lant playing Michael Banks. Also a change to the adult cast as the Bird woman is played by Claire Parrish.
Today I wish to talk about the choreography for the show, which is brilliant. Mary Poppins is choreographed by Matthew Bourne along with Stephen Mear, which gives this production an edge, before it even starts. Having packed the show with great dancers in the ensemble, with Zizi Strallen and Matt Lee as your main characters, this makes the job a lot easier. The routines come thick and fast, with contributions from all. I would like to mention the children in the cast, who are absolutely fabulous, and keep up with the adult actors when required to do so (really impressive for their young ages).
I’ll start with act one today and move onto act two on my next visit. The first scene I’d like to mention is ‘Practically Perfect’. With Zizi and the two children. Such precision in the way she moves around the stage, interacting with Jane and Michael. With gentle spins and steps,the scene just looks so natural. That’s the beauty of it, it’s so simple, but really hits home how effective it can be, to the audience.
We move onto the first major group dance, with ‘Jolly Holiday’, a really bright and breezy scene full of colour and great dance routines. Zizi and Matt take centre stage with the children, and other cast members, blending in as statues in the park. Beautifully danced throughout, so gracefull and effortless, bringing the whole scene to life, So impressive.
With ‘A spoonful of sugar’, we have another simple, yet effective scene, mostly from Zizi, as again she seems to glide around the stage, fixing all in her path, adding that little sparkle to everything. It’s so subtle and beautifully done, without seeming to do anything at all. For me that’s pure genius, and really does work.
The next major scene is, of course, ‘Supercalifragilistic. And may I say Wow, superb. Again so precise, it’s so good to watch. This is where the ensemble come into their own, with Zizi, Matt and the very impressive child actors, conjuring up a fast and furiously entertaining sequence, and so incredible to watch, with all the cast literary step for step throughout. One of the best choreographed scenes during the whole show.
The final choreographed scene in act one is ‘Playing the game’, with the ensemble dressed as the children’s toys. Another imaginative section of the show, well put together, with Zizi and the children at the heart of it. So much happening in this part, you need to see it a few times to appreciate the effect it has. You can’t watch everything on stage in one showing. That’s another reason I tend to watch shows many times over.
Another fabulous, feel good show again tonight, could watch it over and over again, as usual.