BWW Review: MARY POPPINS at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

BWW Review: MARY POPPINS at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

Not every tale begins with "once upon a time" just as they are not always a love story. Rather, a different kind of love - an equally important love - is presented. In Candlelights Dinner Playhouse's latest production, Mary Poppins, the love between children and adults, whether it be between kids and their parents or a lovable, stern nanny, is on full display.

Based on CDP's latest shows, I was let down by the overall production quality of this one. The size and scale of the set pieces were underwhelming compared to the size of the stage. I felt that the Banks' home could have been much more elaborate. Under the direction of Pat Payne, there were quite a few cuts and changes that did not go unnoticed to those familiar with the production, including cuts to the crowd favorite, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Mary's entrance into the home at the top of the show was also very harsh, especially when her exit at the end of the show was quite lovely and added so much to the performance. Choreography by Kate Vallee was a certain delight. Upbeat and fun, the cast seemed to enjoy doing it as well.

Overall, the main players each gave a consistent performance throughout the production, although some of the character choices they were making did not always work in their favor. As Bert, Cole Emarine takes a rather grown-up Artful Dodger approach to the roles where I would have preferred a grown-up Oliver Twist. I always imagine Bert to be a diamond in the rough, but this portrayal gives us more of a "rough around the edges" characteristic. As Jane and Michael, Gwyneth Bohl and John Miley do a really nice job and have much of which to be proud. It is not always easy for child actors to stand out amongst their grown counterparts, but these two certainly stand their own. As Mr. and Mrs. Banks, Scott Hurst, Jr. and Alisha Winter-Hayes are quite lovely in their roles. Each of them had a lovely voice and made clear, strong choices in their acting. I would love to see more of both of them in the future. As the titular Mary Poppins, Harmony Livingston gives the role some lovely nuances throughout the show, although at times there was something that seemed forced. There were many good moments, but I wanted her to feel more natural in the role.

What is nice about theater is even the smallest roles can be noticed. Such is the case with Sarah Grover as the Bird Woman. Although only onstage for a handful of minutes, Grover is very compelling in such a small role and I couldn't help but take notice.

There is something about big musicals that raises my overall expectations. Perhaps it is because I know the source material will be lighter; not as deep, so in place of that I expect all other aspects to be top notch. CDP's Mary Poppins, may not have been one of my favorite pieces I've seen there, but the hard work by all involved is certainly to be commended. Don't miss out on fun and friendly entertainment for the whole family.

Mary Poppins at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse runs September 6 - November 11, 2018. For tickets, visit or call 970-744-3747.

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From This Author Jon Bee

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