‘Mary Poppins’ flies through the Tri-Cities

Emily Aardahl, Opinion Editor

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The Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre’s production of ‘Mary Poppins’ included old favorites and old but unknown additions that ensured every audience member would have something new to experience. The familiar tones of ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’ gave theatregoers a dose of nostalgia, while ‘Playing the Game’ opened their ears to songs not found in the classic Disney movie.

Added characters enrich the scope of the story, from comedic relief like Mrs. Brill and Robertson Ay, the Banks’ fumbling help, to Mrs. Corry, whose appearance at her widely-known word shop segues into the famous “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

The cast itself did an incredible job with its characterization, noting even the exact way that their character walks. This way of visual storytelling strengthens the story as a whole and easily projects the nature of characters to the children in the audience.

The musical included several dance numbers, two of which were “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Step in Time.” In the former, the ensemble is dressed in a swirling array of colors and clothes to communicate that they come from a variety of places. The smiles on their faces enhance the scene even further, and while the choreography isn’t too complicated, sometimes simple is better. In the latter, the stage is taken up primarily by London scores of chimney sweeps, and all are dressed similarly to show that they are comrades-in-arms.

While there were problems balancing the singers with the accompaniment, the voices of the singers were beautiful nonetheless. Mrs. Banks and Mary Poppins, in particular, sang in such a way that audience members were absolutely captivated. “Being Mrs. Banks” and “A Spoonful of Sugar (Reprise),” sung by each one respectively, were easily two of the best numbers in the entire show. In general, the musical’s songs were sung similar to the style they were sung in the Disney movie, holding back to allow the English accent to seep through and add to the story.

One cannot easily describe the audience’s reaction when Mary Poppins first lifted from the stage and magically flew away with her umbrella, or when Bert jumped during “Step in Time” and came 10 or 15 feet up off the stage. Children in the audience thoroughly enjoyed special spotlights that projected stars, and making the magic real for the children is the most important thing of all. 4 out of 5 stars.

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