Popping Mary Poppins

On Saturday Princess, her sister, and I went to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, to see Mary Poppins.

Spoiler Alert: I’m blogging about some of the special effects. So if you’re planning on seeing it, don’t read this post.

You may actually learn from this blog post. Consider it an educational post. I hear you, “But it’s summer!” Stop whining and work some brain cells.

Act I: Awful. If you love the movie and you want the stage production to follow it exactly, don’t go. They changed the story and added new songs.

My review may be a bit harsh. Throughout high school and college  (and a little after), I did technical theater, so I have high expectations.

To my credentials I’m also adding the shows I’ve seen on Broadway: Phantom of the Opera–twice, Miss Saigon, Jekyll and Hyde, Wicked–three times, The Lion King, Les Mis, The Little Mermaid, and Ragtime.

So when I saw the wires from the balcony to the stage, I immediately thought, “Oh cool! I bet Mary Poppins will fly on stage! What a cool entrance.”

You can imagine my disappointment when they used a gobo for Mary Poppins’s arrival. Even the word sounds corny: Go-Bo.

A gobo is a metal cut out that you put in a light. Like this:

Then the light projects the image on stage. Like this:

The effect can be really cool. But not when it’s a lady flying with her umbrella. Especially when there’s a wire right there that she can fly in on instead!

I seriously considered leaving before the second act started to avoid traffic.

Tossing Raisinets on stage for the actors to trip over also seemed like a good option to liven up the show.

Act II: Amazing! I recommend napping through the first act and just watching the second act.

“Step in Time” was delightfully fantastic! But I’m biased. It was an upbeat tap number. I love tap. I blame years of watching Savion Glover on Sesame Street. And years of watching Shirley Temple movies at my grandmother’s house.

Bert (with the help of wires) walks up the proscenium arch, and then he taps and sings (upside down) across the top of the arch and down the other side.

Can you tap dance and sing while hanging upside down? Didn’t think so.

At the end of the show, Mary Poppins makes a grand exit by flying out (making use of the wires I saw…finally) over the audience. Children loved it. And guys got a glimpse of Mary Poppins’s panties. Good times all around.

About thoughtsappear

I eat lots of sugar. It's the only way to keep up with my new baby and to outrun zombies. View all posts by thoughtsappear

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