Theater Review: "Mary Poppins" At The Ahmanson
The musical is cleverly adapted to follow the original “Mary Poppins” books, written by P.L. Travers with elements from its legendary movie counterpart, with a few tidbits paying homage to the classic film as well. The show's direction has managed to attain what many shows—especially family ones—struggle to achieve: an intricate balance between comedic fun and serious emotional moments. "Mary Poppins" is comprised of a truly engaging story and even more engaging musical numbers including some familiar tunes, such as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “A Spoonful of Sugar” with new arrangements. What is impressive is that "Mary Poppins" tackles issues that are often left for a more mature audience but still manages to keep its whimsical value.
With an exceptional set designed by Bob Crowley that has probably hit the very pinnacle of what the theatrical stage can do, the show immediately transports the audience to another world. One of the most notable parts of the set, save a few spoilers, would be Banks' home of #17 on Cherry Tree Lane, which takes the form of a pop-up book that not only folds, but rotates—or flips—to another part of the house.
Rachel Wallace brings a great deal of energy to the show as Mary Poppins which is, obviously, no small feat. Her snappy but charming Mary is indeed the spoonful of sugar that #17 on Cherry Tree Lane needs, and her vocal strength is quite impressive. Among the strong and energetic cast of “Mary Poppins,” stand outs include Elizabeth Broadhurst, whose performance as Mrs. Banks brings emotional depth to the show, and Q. Smith, whose amazing vocal chops have been properly utilized in the double role of Miss Andrew and the Bird Woman.
With such technical brilliance and an amazingly talented cast, there is no doubt that “Mary Poppins” is indeed a "practically perfect" musical.
Reach staff contributor Liffany here.