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Four Spoonfuls' of Sugar for Mary Poppins Sydney

By Yvette Vignando - 8th June 2011

I remember vividly the first musical I attended as a child. It was Annie, in 1978, and I went with my grandma. What I most remember was being in awe that a little girl like me could be on stage singing in such an amazing voice and that she could remember all the lines -  I so wanted to be that girl.

Fast forward to 2011, and I went to see a preview performance of Disney's Mary Poppins in Sydney, taking our 9 year old son. A friend of mine who works for Disney kindly invited me along, and I can tell you, I was much more excited than Mr 9. Because I love a musical, every aspect of it - the orchestra, choreography, costumes and songs and especially the wonder of modern sets that transform magically before my eyes in seconds.

I don't think Mr 9 had any idea of what to expect. The morning of the performance he asked me what Mary Poppins was about and I told him - he said "Oh yes, I know Mary Poppins; she got sucked up into a jet plane on The Simpsons!" I cringed and quickly updated him on spoonfuls' of sugar and chimney sweeps.

How to review a musical that just captured me and took me on a ride of nostalgia and vibrant colour, musical genius and sheer exuberance? A million years ago I did watch Julie Andrews play Mary Poppins in the original movie so I was curious about how the directors of this Disney Mary Poppins would capture the magic, the umbrella flight and the outdoor scenes.

My very favourite scene in the Sydney show was the transformation during a scene in the park. You'll need to see it to understand what I mean, but within seconds, a grey and colourless scene becomes a flurry of colour and movement, and the transformation is truly like magic. I kept glancing over at Mr 9's face to see if he was having the same reactions as me - he was totally mesmerised.

I loved the show from start to finish but I thought I would just let you know what Mr 9 loved, because maybe you're thinking of taking your kids - are you nuts? Take them if you can - they'll adore it.

Mr 9 loved some of the 'one liners' in the show - I can't actually remember any of them as it was a few weeks ago but Mr 9 no doubt can, because he recited them to me over and over for the rest of the day, laughing at each recitation. One of his favourite scenes was Mrs Corry's sweet shop and I'm pretty sure it was one of Mrs Corry's lines that kept him amused for the rest of the day - if only I could remember it. He was also entranced by the two children actors and I wondered if like me at Annie, he'd been imagining himself up on stage.

All the cast were outstanding but my favourite was Matt Lee playing Burt - he enthralled me with his characterisation of the enigmatic chimney sweep with a soft spot for Mary Poppins. And because Burt performed Mr 9's very favourite gravity-defying scene in the musical, he got the thumbs up, and a four spoonfuls' of sugar rating from both of us.

I know a family outing to a musical is a huge investment but there are B reserve Family tickets for 4 at $150 for some matinee performances, and I think wherever you sit in the theatre, you'll see the full glory of this production. Hope you can treat yourself.

Would you love a prize too? Win a MARY POPPINS gift pack valued at $60 - includes Mary Poppins Paperback Novel; the book that started the magic, The Original Australian Cast Recording; recorded live at Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne and the exclusive behind the scenes Making of Mary Poppins DVD. To enter, please leave a comment below with anything at all about Mary Poppins. We'll choose the most creative entry and announce the winner here on 13 June 2011. Entries open to Australian residents only.

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