Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review of Mary Poppins at The Paramount Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Mary Poppins. It was directed by Rachel Rockwell and the music director was Tom Vendafreddo. The book was by Julian Fellowes and the original songs were by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The additional music and lyrics were by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. It was about a nanny, Mary Poppins (Emily Rohm), who is magical and went to go and help the Bankses, who were a family and helped them actually become a family and not just be some people who lived together. The father, George Banks (Michael Aaron Lindner), all he thinks about is money. Winifred Banks (Cory Goodrich) is being overrun by Mr. Banks because he doesn't pay attention to her and think of her as a real woman. Jane (Peyton Shaffer), and Michael Banks (Charlie Babbo) lie and want to make each other look bad. And those are the problems that Mary Poppins has to fix. Bert (Matt Crowle) is a man of many trades. One day he is a painter, the next day he is a kite maker, and the next day he is a chimney sweep. He is the narrator and also part of the story. He doesn't just go on the inside or the outside of the story. I think this is a great family show because it is enthusiastic, the music is great, and it is a fun family classic.

I really liked the choreography (by Rachel Rockwell). I thought it was very imaginative. It had a modern twist even though this is not supposed to be a super modern play. I liked it. In "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," they made all the letters with their bodies, and that I thought was very creative. I liked the choreography for "Temper, Temper" and I also liked the costumes (by Theresa Ham). What I liked about the costumes was how much they looked like real toys; it seemed like a child's nightmare of its toys coming around and saying "You hurt me all these years." Also the dancing was very wind-up-toy like. The doll Valentine (Will Skrip) was very flexible; when I play with my toys, if they are cotton, they can slide into the splits very easily. I liked how they incorporated that into the choreography. I also really liked the choreography in "Step in Time." It just was big and it really made you focus on what was happening. The movements were just so crazy. They did some tap; they did some jazz; they did some acrobatics. I really liked how Bert was placed on these two strings and they spinned him around and around and around. And I am like, "How are you not so dizzy?" And then the crazy thing is, when he came out of that, he went right into the splits.

Mary Poppins and Bert were both amazing. I thought they were both very talented. I thought her singing was absolutely beautiful. I absolutely loved her stare when anybody would talk back to her. My favorite song that she sang, which is basically my favorite song in the musical, is "Practically Perfect." What is great about it is that it is just so so catchy and it tells you something about Mary Poppins: that she kind of brags about herself but she also wants to help other people become "Practically Perfect." One of my favorite moments was when Jane and Michael got measured. I liked their reactions a lot. They were like, "But that's not true!" But the descriptions of what they were were so specific it was just funny. I thought Bert was a great dancer and his accent was much better than Dick Van Dyke's. (No offense to Dick Van Dyke, I love him, but his accent was pretty bad.) This Bert wasn't flamboyant, but it is good not to be flamboyant all the time. I liked the way that he talked to the audience; he wasn't cheesy like he was taking us on a magical journey. He was more like a storyteller than a sideshow man.

I loved the song "Being Mrs. Banks," which was a song about being a wife and not from a man's perspective. What happens is that Mrs. Banks is kind of getting fed up because Mr. Banks doesn't recognize who she is. And so she decides to talk about the bad things and the good things about being Mrs. Banks. One thing that I liked in the movie was that she was a suffragette. And they sort of replicated that here in how she talked about what it is like to be her and how women should still have the same amount of power as men. She wants to stay loyal to her family and so she decides not to go back to acting, which I slightly want her to because I love acting and any kind of theater. I think she should follow her dreams, but that is her choice. She makes that choice, though, because she wants to be with her kids more. I liked the performance of the song a lot because it was kind of like she was writing in her diary or something. She was very intimate, and I liked that. I thought that Mr. Banks's discoveries were really well acted. You really saw his happiness but you still saw his strictness showing through--until he says "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and then everything changes!

People who would like this show are people who like chimney sweeps, practically perfect measuring tapes, and the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I think people should definitely go see this show with their families. It was worth the drive to Aurora. I had so much fun, and I hope you will too.

Photos: Liz Lauren

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