Page: 1

Mary Poppins- Manchester Palace Theatre

songanddanceman2 Profile Photosonganddanceman2 Profile Photo
songanddanceman2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/31/06
Mary Poppins- Manchester Palace Theatre#1
Posted: 12/15/08 at 9:12am
Hey all
I was gonna wait till its official opening night on Tuesday to post a quick review, but the show is in such good shape i didn't think i needed to wait.

As with every year The Palace Theatre has got another lengthy run (3 months) of a hit West End Show, this time its Mary Poppins.
Now i must point out from the start that i have never been much of a fan of Poppins (film or stage show) as its all a bit twee for me lol, but i know how to appreciate a musical.

Mary Poppins is a big budget family extravaganza, its a show which has not compromised on the spectacle for the tour and delivers exactly what it sets out to do with flying (hehe) colours.

The cast are practically perfect in every way, Lisa O'Hare is excellent in the title role and completely commands the stage like i haven't seen done in a long time, she shines in her singing and dancing but its her delivery as the character which leaves you feeling you have just watched a great performance.
The same can be said Danny Crossley who is a lovable Bert.
I could name check everyone but the simple fact is that this is such a perfectly cast tour (right down to the kids) that even if the show was a mess (it isn't) you would still have had a great night.I must say as well the ensemble are top notch and deserve all the praise in the world.

The sets for the show are fantastic, for a change a touring show at the Palace is using a great amount of the HUGE palace theater stage. The main house set which opens up like a book is better than the London one, it moves with ease and adds to the magic of the show, all the other sets are pretty much the same as London and work brilliantly. The set changes are jaw dropping, with the blink of an eye a new set has appeared (im sure i counted over 8 major set changes) and don't even get me started on how good the lighting is.

As for the flying scene, it looks great, each shift i have worked i have been in the Grand Tier(the best view by far for this show) and it looks breathtaking.
She flies over the stalls, to the front of the circle, up past the front of the Grand Tier and straight up in to the enormous Palace Theatre Dome in the roof, someone was telling us this was the highest she had ever flown, and it looked it.
Bert's tap dancing scene up the side of the stage and roof is also a brilliant moment (All the palace staff keep trying to get in to the theatre to watch that bit).

A few of the london illusions have gone due to trap doors etc but most stay in tact.

The negative for me is more to do with the show rather than the brilliant production.The length of the show is to long and could easily loose 15/20 mins off it and parts of act 1 move so slow that the children in the audience become restless.

But all in all this is one show im happy to work at the Palace theatre, a beautiful, magnificent and enchanting evening at the theatre, theatre has never looked so good

8/10

Ticket info
Poppins is selling well at the Palace but seats are available in the quieter times like January.
You can now get 10 tickets for the show in the Grand Tier and i strongly advise you sit up there for this show, despite the restricted Leg Room the view is amazing.Sitting in the stalls and the circle (especially at the back) you miss some things, in the tier you see every effect brilliantly, especially the flying.

Book tickets early though as its press night on Tuesday so sales for January will fly out too.Its well worth the trip

Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
songanddanceman2 Profile Photosonganddanceman2 Profile Photo
songanddanceman2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/31/06
Press night tonight, and im totally going to the After show party lol
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
ThankstoPhantom
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/13/05
Yay! I am so glad that the tour is a great production...Glad to know the US Tour will at least physically please audiences.
How to properly use its/it's: Its is the possessive. It's is the contraction for it is...
mikeyb16 Profile Photomikeyb16 Profile Photo
mikeyb16
Broadway Star
joined:1/22/06
Broadway Star
joined:
1/22/06
re: Mary Poppins- Manchester Palace Theatre#3
Posted: 12/18/08 at 10:53am
Nice review. I cannot wait to see Lisa and Daniel in Cardiff next March! :)
TheGreenBean
Chorus Member
joined:6/25/08
Chorus Member
joined:
6/25/08
I saw this production 9 times in Edinburgh, and I have to agree with pretty much everything Songanddanceman2 has said.

Caroline Sheen, who has now unfortunately left the tour, was perfection as Mary, and Lisa O'Hare is definitely a worthy replacement, who gives a stunning performance as the magical nanny. I was lucky enough to see both, and I make a point of not comparing the two at all, as they were both so different, but both so good.

Danny Crossley as Bert, just, wow. Literally, this man is perfection in this role. Having had my favourite Mary/Bert etc before seeing this production, and being determined I wouldn't like Danny as much as Gavin Creel, I was just blown away by this man's performance. Perfect Bert, really.

Louise Bowden as Mrs Banks was one of the highlights of the show for me. Whenever I went and thought the cast were somewhat lacking energy (which, to their credit, was very rarely), Louise could pick it right up with her touching songs, beautifully performed. Watch out for her in the future.

Martin Ball as Mr Banks was great, not much to say because it really isn't much of a singing/dancing/acting role really, but he always did a good job and got the laughs/sympathy when needed.

The children. In a non-pervy way, I adored these children. Each and every one I saw blew me away, for such a young age, they are full of talent. Although it's down to luck who you see, as it is only put on the cast board an hour or two prior to curtain, I'd recommend trying to catch Naimh Coombes, Maddy Allison, William Pearce or Edward Cooke as Jane and Michael Banks, although whoever you see, you won't be disappointed at all.

Mark Anderson delivers comic relief at every show, adding little touches to his character each time, making it a different performance each time you go. Even if I were to go now, I can guarantee he'll have added so much to his role than when I last saw him 2 weeks ago.

The ensemble too deserve a huge mention. Stand outs in particular were Stuart Winter (Neleus), who is a phenomenal dancer. I always made a point of watching him, particularly in Step in Time. Likewise with Liam Wrate and Sam Archer, who also gives a very scary performance as Valentine in Temper, Temper. Jaime Farr, well... Where to start with this woman?! Gutted I didn't see her as Mary in Edinburgh, but the time shall come, thankfully re: Mary Poppins- Manchester Palace Theatre. Adored her, make sure you keep an eye on her in Supercal, she's Fannie, with the red dress. Adorable, very entertaining, especially when you're sitting in an empty front row, killing yourself at her quirks, which then leads her to milk it up and add more. Love this woman. Marsha George should also be paid special attention to in Supercal.

Now to the more technical aspects of the show...
From far back, it is simply a STUNNING show to watch, and the very same can be said for close up. In the Playhouse, I sat in a variety of places when seeing the show, from Row A/G/P/HH stalls, then front row Circle, front Balcony a few times and the very last row in the balcony. Each time never disappoints, it really is a show that can be appreciated from all angles. The lighting is so magical, literally, the lighting was often the highlight of some scenes for me. The set I can't begin to describe, floats in and out beautifully. The nursery was by far my favourite set piece, as it comes in so effortlessly and you can't help but be stunned at it's beauty. Likewise, the dolls house is so magical to watch (Each time, when Danny gestures for it to open with the first "Chim chim, cheree chim cher-ooo", I got shivers up my spine). It's a huge improvement to the London and Broadway sets, which I felt were too bulky. The tour has got it spot on.

Infact, that last sentence there pretty much sums up this tour. Spot on. I can't think of a single fault to it. And not once did I not see a standing ovation (granted, I never saw a full standing ovation, but it got close sometimes - that's British audiences for you, though.). I shall definitely be making a trip to Manchester, hopefully making my final count up to around 11 or 12. Fingers crossed I can make the final shows in Cardiff too. I cannot recommend this production highly enough, and if you get the chance at all, I beg of you to check it out.