It was nearly three hours of my childhood playing on repeat. Mary Poppins, a musical playing at the Orpheum Theatre, is the innocence of childhood complete with the kind of magic that one would expect from a child’s imagination. For anyone who had the bad luck to not have grown up with the movie, it is the story of two raucous children, Jane and Michael Banks (Alexa Shae Niziak and Eli Tokash, respectively), and their parents’ attempt to teach the children manners. As if from nowhere, their dream nanny, Mary Poppins (Madeline Trumble), appears. She shows the children a more colourful world – literally, in the case of “Jolly Holiday.” The children are completely transformed and transfixed by their new world. It is just the most pure version of a child’s dream.
Madeline Trumble (playing the ever-charming, yet slightly brazen Mary Poppins) completed her character with a voice that sang every spoken word. She seemed like a woman with magic radiating out of her fingertips. She played Mary like a woman who could change the world, but convince you that it was your idea. Her prim Received Pronunciation accent was in a pleasingly direct contrast with Bert (Con O’Shea Creal) and his charmingly cleanhanded Cockney accent. Bert’s character was played with a complete understanding of the character and his optimism of the world of the chimney sweeps. The moment with Bert on top of the rooftops saying that he has the best views of London above the houses, even though he’s a chimney sweep, just epitomized his bright idealism.
In addition, the set was downright remarkable. There was a flat house that slid forward from the background and the front walls opened like a child’s storybook to reveal the inside of the Banks’ house. The storybook-like opening was just a small precursor to the rest of the magic in the musical. It was the most classic of moments when Mary pulled objects out of her never-ending bag to astound the children. And when Mary rescued Michael’s kite, flying down with it in one hand and her iconic umbrella in the other, it was a chance for all children (and adults, for that matter) to have just a little bit more magic and whimsy added to their lives.