REVIEW: Mary Poppins, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Until October 29

Step In Time. Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins and the company.

Step In Time. Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins and the company.

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Mary Poppins is an explosion of colour and fun.

The stories of PL Travers and the famous 1964 Disney film were brought to life on stage before a delighted audience’s eyes.

Let's Go Fly A Kite - Matt Lee as Bert, Madeline Banbury as Jane Banks and Colby Mulgrew as Michael Banks.

Let's Go Fly A Kite - Matt Lee as Bert, Madeline Banbury as Jane Banks and Colby Mulgrew as Michael Banks.

All the magic of the movie comes to life in this wonderful family production.

Zizi Strallen stars as Mary and she’s absolutely perfect as the perky, no nonsense nanny charged with looking after the Banks children, Jane (Verity Biggs) and Michael (Lewis Fernée).

Their father George (Neil Roberts) is much too busy with his job at the bank and mother Winifred (Rebecca Lock) is trying to find her place in society.

All those famous magical moments from the film are there. From Mary’s bottomless bag which produces coat stands and plants, to her sliding up the banister and flying with the help of her trusty umbrella, this show is a real visual spectacle.

Jolly Holiday -  The Company.

Jolly Holiday - The Company.

It looks fantastic as well. The costumes are gorgeous and the set – which reminded me of a pop-up book – is fabulous. Subtle touches like a dancing bird in a cuckoo clock made it all the more magical.

There was one moment when a crew member was a little too obvious as she ran onto the stage to collect a prop and run back off.

The two talented youngsters were great in their roles as the bratty children who just need a little love and direction.

Housekeeping staff Mrs Brill (Wendy Ferguson) and Robertson Ay (Blair Anderson) were a great duo. Their silly antics had the kids – and everyone else – in fits of giggles.

Playing The Game - Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins.

Playing The Game - Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins.

Penelope Woodman also made a big impression as George’s wicked former nanny Miss Andrew. The pantomime-style boos she got at the end demonstrated just how great a job she’d done.

Matt Lee took on the role of Mary’s friend Bert and was great. His ‘gravity-defying’ tap performance during Step In Time was a particular favourite.

All the famous songs from the film are there, like A Spoonful of Sugar, Jolly Holiday, Let’s Go Fly A Kite and Chim Chim Cher-ee, and the audience sang along enthusiastically.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was a real stand-out moment. It’s the song that everyone was waiting for and the lightning-fast choreography that went along with it blew everybody away.

Practically Perfect - Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins, Madeline as Jane Banks and Colby Mulgrew as Michael Banks.

Practically Perfect - Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins, Madeline as Jane Banks and Colby Mulgrew as Michael Banks.

The show also incorporates other stories by author PL Travers and isn’t simply the film on stage – there’s so much more.

The new songs written for the show were good but weren’t as memorable as the original soundtrack – but how could they possibly compete?

The ensemble – which includes South Shields actress Jennifer Davison – kept up an incredible pace. Appearing on stage as bankers, statues, toys, and your regular man-on-the-street, their ever-changing costumes and make-up made me picture a very hectic backstage area.

The fabulous show ends on a spectacular high that mirrors the film wonderfully.

Mary Poppins is a brilliant show that will be adored by people of all ages and a tribute to the love that generations of people have for the timeless film.

It’s practically perfect in every way.

Mary Poppins runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, October 29. Click here to book tickets.