10-25 March, Napier Municipal Theatre
The matinee performance was ideally suited to the younger fans but theatre-goers of all ages were delighted when the Napier Operatic Society wowed the audience with the Broadway musical production of Mary Poppins. Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke are a hard act to follow but Laura Jeffares in the lead role, and James Wright as Bert, pulled it off with resounding success.
Isabelle Monk and Isaac Earney played the parts of Jane and Michael Banks in this performance, and both acted very well. Mrs Banks, played by Kelly Davis and Mr Banks played by Johnny Duncan were utterly convincing and the comic relief provided by Davina Roper as Mrs Brill the housekeeper and William Atkin as Robertson Ay was delightful.
From the moment the lights went out the audience was wowed with stellar acting, beautiful singing and stunningly choreographed dance sequences. The tap-dancing chimney sweeps performing “Step in Time” stole the show, second only to the innovative semaphore-come-hand-jiving of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” which was pure gold.
The 14-part live orchestra and microphones on all performers meant the lyrics and spoken parts were clearly audible and of course the live music made the musical numbers so much more enjoyable. The costumes were well designed with the fantasy scenes cleverly portrayed with brightly-coloured costumes. Statues that came alive also helped to evoke the sense of magic that accompanied Mary and Bert.
The revolving stage was rotated effortlessly between the nursery, the drawing room, the bank and the park. Mary Poppins made several exits and entrances from aloft and Bert’s tap dancing literally ended up with him dancing on the ceiling.
This production was undoubtably on a par with international performances and was a credit to our local performers and directors.