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A Night of Magic: Mary Poppins at the Silver Center

By Grace Dawson
On November 2, 2018


As soon as the lights go down, the voices go down with them. The audience, filled with everyone from grandparents to classmates to little siblings, starts to turn their heads toward the stage, and within a few seconds the lights dim and the music starts to play. 

So began Mary Poppins, a wonderful take on the classic play that combines the wonder of P.L. Travers’ books with the magic of the Walt Disney movie adaptation. Fans familiar with the movie could even be heard singing along to some of the songs. 

Mary Poppins, played by Mikayla Caterino, was calmly poised between stern and fun, taking the walk in the park and the lesson of the dolls with an equal amount of the knowing air that’s so central to the character, while Jerome Torres’ Bert brought the audience from scene to scene with friendly grace. Winnifred Banks, played by Paige MacDonald, was a testament to the position of women. I found myself very glad of her representation as a more rounded character than the film version. Some of her highlights include her song “Being Mrs. Banks” and after being willing to physically fight the bank chairman, played by Asher Clark, for a deserved increase of her husband’s wages. Robert Herstedt, Mr. Banks himself, was as stern and British as the audience remembered him, but his more tender side was exposed as the play went on, especially by the context of his childhood, which was brought on by the arrival of Miss Andrew, played by Jeanmarie Lapointe who arrived and exited with a flourish of “Brimstone and Treacle” and was taught by Mary Poppins and his children Jane and Michael, played by Alexandra Flammia and Patrick Gleich, that the joys and dreams of childhood are something to be treasured.

Robertson Ay and Mrs. Brill, brought to life by Nate Wild and Sharleigh Thomson, added a level of comedy and care that seems absent from the movies. Mrs. Corry (Sophia Shay), Miss Lark (Sydney Moquin), Admiral Boom (Ryan DePaolo), and Herr Von Hussler (Andrew Hotham) were all magnificent additions in their own ways, from giving gingerbread with an on-point accent to exchanging flirty remarks and bringing to life the adorable Willoughby to clicking heels to the audience’s delight. Sam Boyle gave diverse performances as the statue-come-to-life Neleus, Valentine the slighted doll, and Mr. Northbrook, dancing all the way. 

The dance numbers were incredible: the complex hand-slapping and arm-waving dance that accompanied the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” number and the tap-dancing and backflipping of “Step In Time” stood out – the chimney sweeps even ventured into the audience to sing the song to us. The visual effects set the scenes perfectly, from the famous carpet bag to the rooftops of London, and even engaged the audience with the stars and the night sky projected into the auditorium. All in all, the performance was an incredible edition of a well-loved classic, impressing and engaging everyone from students to families. 

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