Mary Poppins - Prince Edward Theatre London - Review
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
When it comes to creating magic both on screen and on stage, Disney certainly know what they are doing. From ‘The Lion King’ to ‘Frozen’, Disney theatrical productions have been thrilling audiences for many years, and their stage adaptation of ‘Mary Poppins’ might just be one of the most magical. The world’s most famous nanny fills the Prince Edward Theatre with magic with its lovable characters and some of the best dance numbers you can currently see on the West End.
With the well-known songs ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, ‘Jolly Holiday’ and ‘Step in Time’, the story of the magical nanny Mary Poppins who arrives at the home of the Banks family to help them fix their issues, is a crowd-pleasing musical that has something for everyone. The famous story has been capturing the imagination of generations and the theatre was full of those ready to experience the magic.
Zizi Strallen takes on the title role of Mary Poppins, looking every part as if she had just stepped out of a story book with every step precise and not a hair out of place. She makes the character her own, not afraid to find a balance between the soft motherly side and the cheekier, sometimes darker side that needs to come out when the children and others around her need to be taught a lesson. With Charlie Stemp stepping perfectly in time into the role of cheeky chimney sweep Bert, the pair are a match made in musical theatre heaven with completely believable chemistry and a special spark that only comes along every now and again in a stage pairing. Stemp is simply made for the role of Bert with his cheery grin and immaculate dance skill. In this production, Bert takes on a more narrator type role, of course performing iconic numbers such as ‘Jolly Holiday’, ‘Chim, Chim, Cheree’ and ‘Step in Time’ but also nipping in and out at scene changes, showcasing the numerous job roles that Bert does and keeping the story moving along nicely with little monologue sections that break the fourth wall and interacting directly with the different characters.
Charlie Anson and Amy Griffiths play George and Winifred Banks, both characters who are facing a rollercoaster of emotions as George struggles at work and Winifred feels out of place with her role in society. Anson takes a character that could easily be unlikable and makes that the audience root for them, makes them want to see George succeed but also learn a valuable lesson whilst Griffith’s Winifred is charming and likable as she battles with a balancing act of being a good wife, a good mother, and the person that society expects her to be. At this performance, Laura Medforth played the role of the Bird Lady with charm and grace and Sam Lathwood stepped up into the role of Banks servant Robertson Ay, getting many a laugh from the audience throughout and showcasing a natural flair for comedy.
Megan Judge and Charlie Murphy proved themselves to be stars of the future as Jane and Michael Banks, step perfect with the adult cast and as lovable as can be. This is a very full-on show for such young performers, and they make it all look incredibly easy as do the talented ensemble who leap from role to role, appearing as bank clerks, kite flyers and chimney sweeps to name just a few of their many characters.
Bob Crowley’s set design is a sight to behold with the Banks family home appearing as a giant doll house, the stage coming alive in technicolour during ‘Jolly Holiday’ and a beautiful finale that will leave the audience beaming from ear to ear. Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear’s choreography is beautiful and performed to the highest of levels by the exceptional cast with ‘Step in Time’ raising the roof as one of the best dance routines you can see on stage at the moment.
Whilst the vast majority of the audience were truly captured by the wonder and the magic of it all, there were a few slight issues such as a few children that were perhaps too young to truly appreciate the show, moving around in the stalls and chatting loudly whilst the ushers had their work cut out stopping people from trying to get photographs during pivotal moments.
In conclusion, ‘Mary Poppins’ is theatrical escapism in its purest form, a display of great performance and production values. With something that everyone can enjoy, it’s one of the hottest tickets in town and a show that will leave you smiling and humming one of its many catchy tunes.
You can buy tickets to 'Mary Poppins' here https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk/mary-poppins-tickets
Images found via Google, not my own