Review: MARY POPPINS Drops in for a Merry Holiday Treat Thru Dec 23

By: Dec. 13, 2016
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Now on stage at The Encore Musical Theatre Company is the delightful and enchanting favorite MARY POPPINS; just in time for a perfect holiday get-together with loved ones, this uplifting production runs through December 23. You've seen the Disney film, you've read the books by P L Traverse, but the live performance of this cherished tale takes the cake.

Olivia Hernandez stars as the inimitable Mary at this professional theatre. Her performance is riveting, as if she were born to play this role. Her voice is pure and wholesome, with amazingly perfect pitch; she draws us into her world with her irresistible charm. She emotes so lucidly and her timing is impeccable. She was able to seamlessly incorporate fitting dialogue into her performance following a slight prop malfunction; it was clever and faithful to the Poppins character. I cannot gush enough about her.

We are magically whisked away to London, where Bert, played fantastically by Sebastian Gerstner, introduces us to Edwardian England, when women wore picture hats and did not vote. It was a time when there were shifts in politics among sections of society who had been largely excluded from any sort of power, namely the common laborers, such as chimney sweeps. Gerstner is compelling as the exuberant sweep who believes shaking his hand is good luck. He has a rich voice and amazing dance moves that thrilled the audience to give thunderous applause. Bert introduces the Banks family, whose head foresees the penumbra of impending doom. Fortunately, for the Banks family, catastrophe was averted, unlike the real people of Edwardian England who were destined to ill-fated hardships of World War I.

MARY POPPINS illustrates the great differences between the wealthy and poor during the Edwardian Era. There is only one wage-earner, yet they live in a mansion, have a cook, have a house keeper, have a nanny, and the wife's duty is simply to be Mrs. Banks. Amy Dolan-Malaney's performance as The Bird Woman is priceless; her beautiful rendition of "Feed The Birds" is gripping; it reminds us to never forget to look after the least among us.

Dana Steiner and Connor Casey were adorable as Jane and Michael Banks. Each one was as cute as a button, and they delivered their lines flawlessly. Mr. and Mrs. Banks (played dashingly by Daniel A. Helmer and Ally Kaufmann) are spectacular in this performance.

The piece de resistance is the thrilling "Step In Time" scene when the entire cast sets the stage on fire with jaw-dropping choreography. You don't want to miss this production. And did I mention, Olivia Hernandez will enrapture you with her unbelievable talent.

Mary Poppins is directed by Thalia V. Schramm with Tyler Driskill as Music Director. Rachel Hull Choreographer and Kristen Gribbin, Set Design. The Encore Musical Theatre is a non-profit musical theatre located in the City of Dexter, at 3126 Broad Street. Using a unique mixture of Broadway and area talent of all levels, the theatre offers shows that engage and entertain. The small, intimate setting provides an "up close and personal" theater experience.

Tickets: Adults $35; $33 Seniors, Encore 100 Member; $31 Groups of 10 or more or Children under 17

Courtesy Michele Anliker

Courtesy Michele Anliker

Courtesy Michele Anliker

Courtesy Michele Anliker

Courtesy Michele Anliker