Mary Poppins Makes Manchester Magic

SupercalifragilisticexpialidociousI took 3 of my children to watch Mary Poppins at the Manchester Palace theatre on Wednesday night.

I remember seeing the film as part of my birthday treat many years ago and I wanted the girls to have the same excitement for a fun story.

My only worry was that the show set in a theatre couldn’t compete with a film for special effects or vast numbers of scenes. Plus I’d just missed out on getting seats for the matinee performance during half term so this show was at 7:30pm on a school day which meant they’d be back well after bed time.

When we arrived the theatre was stuffed to the gills with people. and this despite the show being near the end of its run (ends of the 7th March). The only seats we could get were limited leg room in the upper circle so we got a fantastic view.

One of the ladies in front of me was was terrified by the angle of the seating and held on for grim death to her seat and her friends seat all through the show. But she was determined to stay.

Mary Poppins Was Supercalifragilistic

Right from the beginning the show went at a breakneck speed that enhanced the magic of Mary Poppins.

Initially I wondered whether Mary Poppins would have a good a voice as Julie andrews. I needn’t have worried. She was as good as Julie Andrews, with the same cut-glass nanny voice as in the film!

We all marvelled at the sets and how Mr and Mrs Banks’ house was folded up like a 3-D Christmas card.

The children’s bedroom, which also doubled for the roof top scenes during the show was extremely well designed and looked solid enough to have been there all the time.

When the hose was rotated the back opened up to show the kitchen. Where Mary Poppins was able to demonstrate her magical abilities after the children had almost destroyed it.

The park near the house was very well done. The cartoon piece in the film was replaced by a fantastic dance routine involving statues, passers-by and an amazing moving set.

Mary Poppins visit to her Uncle (who loves to laugh) was cut from the show without any problem and replaced by a high energy dancing visit to a special shop run by Mrs Coffy where they piece together that special word. Mrs Coffy was in one of the books but not in the film.

Mrs Banks appeared to have much more of a role during the show than in the film, as did Mr Banks. The show actually improved as we saw their real characters.

And of course we got to boo at a hideous nanny drafted in to look after the children after Mary Poppins leaves part way through.

There were several show stopping routines during the show but my favourite was the sweeps dance amongst the chimneys of London.  I got swept away with the choreography and singing

Of course Mary returns and all ends very happily with Mr Banks becoming a senior bank manager (of the type we could all do with at the moment!) with 4 times his current salary.

The finale is a romping, stomping fun end, except for when Mary has to say goodbye to everyone and to Bert.

And then everybody started cheering and whistling as Mary Poppins swept out over the audience seated in the stalls and then right up to those of us in the Gods. And that is a long way to go in the Palace! A truly fitting finale to a fabulous, fabulous show.

Did we think it was a good show. No, we all thought it was great! Well done to all those who took part and to Cameron Mackintosh and Disney for getting it on stage.

My advice, if you’ve not seen it, you really must go and see this fantastic, fun for the whole family production of Mary Poppins before it leaves the stage on the 7th March.

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About Jim Symcox

Manchester is great. At Manchester University I take part in Gilbert & Sullivan productions each year. I'm a Manchester-based business growth coach and marketing evangelist and like to help companies grow more profitable, more quickly.
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