It’s a Jolly Holiday with Mary

Ok. I’m in a state of awe. I’ve had a chance to sleep and let the buzz where off, but I’m still stunned from watching the Mary Poppins musical last night. It was absolutely fantastic. I just want to quickly apologize to Kelsey, Jen, Mom, and Dad for not taking you to see it, because seeing any other musical was just a waste of time.

First, the set for Mary Poppins was jaw-dropping. The multiple floors of the house at 17 Cherry Tree Lane would move up and down when scenes changed. Mary Poppins pulled a coat rack, lamp, bed, and big mirror out of her travel bag and I still don’t know how. I mean, it’s one thing to see it in a movie, but on the stage you can’t edit it. There were several flying scenes when Mary would fly around the stage, or Bert walked up the wall. The special effects weren’t overdone, but appeared so magical because half the time you didn’t see it coming or couldn’t figure out how they did it. See a short clip here.

The musical version has been altered a bit from the movie. The general plot is the same, the songs we all love are still there, but some of the scenes have been altered or removed, and several new ones are added. Notably, the penguins in the painting are gone and the floating and drinking tea scene are gone. In their place we have dancing statues in the park and a woman that sells words (which leads to the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious). The new songs weren’t great, especially compared to the originals, but the dancing that accompanied them was often brilliant. The parents have beefed up roles in the musical plot which explores their rocky marriage, the mother’s feelings of hopelessness, and father’s troubled childhood.

The acting was really good. Bert (the chimney sweep) was the best. Mary had a really good voice, but didn’t stand out that much. The parents, in their expanded roles, were a little bit flat, especially the father. The daughter had an amazing voice, but the little boy was tough to understand because he had a think accent. Because of child acting laws, there are 4 sets of children that perform on alternating nights.

Italian GraffitiI spent Saturday afternoon doing some Christmas shopping at Harrod’s. The place is ridiculously expensive (who pays ยฃ120 for jeans!), but I bought some token Christmas presents from the food hall. Harrod’s is huge, extremely ornate department store. The building is split into rooms, each with its own theme. The highlight is ogling the really expensive jewelry and walking through the amazing food halls (with rooms devoted to chocolate, candy, fruits, meats, etc.). It was quite the experience, although fighting huge crowds for 2 hours was a bit of a turn-off.

Before the play, I met up with Ariel, Adam, and Ellen and we had dinner at Italian Graffiti. The food was great and it was a perfect place to eat dinner before a West End show. I had an amazing Mediterranean pizza and we shared a bottle of wine.

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