Mary Poppins cast

Returning to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage this holiday season is the colourful, popular classic Mary Poppins. A remounted Arts Club Theatre production from last year, the cast is back for this fun Broadway musical based on the Disney film and P.L. Travers’ 1934 novel.

Sara-Jeanne Hosie is no stranger to the Arts Club stage, having performed in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, Cabaret, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, and Swing. She brings Mary Poppins to life with a spring in her step and a smart attitude.

Neatly dressed in red with a flower popping out of her bonnet, she graces the stage and is – for most of the two hour (plus intermission) show, its centerpiece. Her performance is truly practically perfect in every way.

Mary Poppins cast

A movable set designed by Alison Green unfolds before our eyes: the Banks’ Cherry Tree Lane home resembles an unfolded life-size doll house in hues of light blue, yellow, and white. Costumes nicely combine into the scenes, with lots of grey, white, and slate blue, later transformed into some of the most colourful, wicked dresses and suits imaginable, courtesy of Costume Designer Sheila White. The two-story home is filled with curios, books, and furnishings throughout.

Craig Alfredson’s projections, along with Andrew Tugwell’s sound design add layers of atmosphere, while a torn letter flies up the chimney (plus many other cool effects) with the help of magic consultant Chris Stolz.

Mary Poppins cast

I marveled at the scenic transformation during Jolly Holiday, where statues come to life and actors don pink striped jackets and pink top hats. In Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, an acid/dreamlike palette of colours, letters slowly moving on the backdrop, and fantastic dancing. The hard-working cast get toe-tapping on London’s rooftops during Step in Time, another fun musical number to be wowed by.

Graham Verchere, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Kassia Danielle Malmquist
[Graham Verchere, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Kassia Danielle Malmquist]

Sara-Jeanne Hosie has a magnificent voice. Together with Scott Walters (Bert) and the children (Graham Verchere and Kassia Danielle Malmquist), all vocal talents shine through and are well matched to pair with Hosie’s.

Shane Snow as ditzy Robertson Ay also entertains, as does Katey Wright playing both evil Miss Andrew and Mrs. Corry.

Shane Snow, Sara-Jeanne Hosie
[Shane Snow, Sara-Jeanne Hosie]

Mention must also be made of Susan Anderson’s sweet voice in the role of Bird Woman. Although she also portrays Mrs. Brill, her shining moment is during the number Feed the Birds, as she gently offers birdseed to passersby in the park, dressed in tatters, yet seemingly content with her lot in life.

Musical Director Bruce Kellett and a five-piece orchestra work behind the scenes, taking a bow via video post-show. The cast received a well-deserved, rousing standing ovation on opening night.

Important lessons are learned, and the tale comes to a happy ending as Mary Poppins flies through the air. Wait until you see what the Arts Club Theatre’s got in store with this one! You won’t leave disappointed. A fun show to treat the family to over the holidays.

Directed by Bill Millerd, Mary Poppins continues at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage through January 4, 2015.

Photos by David Cooper.

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