“Mary Poppins” Produced by Village Theatre

Cayman Ilika and Greg McCormick Allen Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Cayman Ilika and Greg McCormick Allen
Photo by Mark Kitaoka

I’ve read that technical problems plagued the opening night performance of “Mary Poppins.” Well I assure you that whatever technical problems existed then were mostly corrected later in the week. The show I saw soared, despite a couple of minor glitches. Mary flew down, then up and finally she flew above the entire audience. Even her two young charges took a turn in the air much to the delight of the entranced children and adults.

Village did well in offering their take on this favorite for their holiday show. It provides a good contrast to the more traditional Christmas shows yet suits audiences both young and old. This Edwardian story by P.L. Travers was written in the 1930s. The songs are long-time favorites, first introduced in the Disney film of 1964. The stage musical version opened in London in 2004. This production has a bit of all of them, and Village has pulled out all the stops—numerous luminous stage sets by Scott Fyfe, period-perfect costumes by Cynthia Savage, and sparkling dancing choreographed by Kathryn Van Meter who also co-directed with Steve Tomkins.

The entire cast is in top form. Cayman Ilika gives Mary Poppins an authority coupled with a smile that makes you want to do whatever she asks, and wow, can she sing. Mae Corely as little Jane and Jeryn Lasentia as her younger brother are seasoned actors who bring wonder, joy, and even a bit of petulance to their performances.

Then there’s the talented Greg McCormick Allen playing Bert, the sweep. He literally sweeps the rug out from under you with his dancing and acrobatics. Lots of good dance numbers here.

The large cast hasn’t a single weak member. From gruff Father Banks and gentle Mother Banks to the statues that come to life, the Admiral who wanders through, the flustered Mrs. Brill, and all the other minor roles. Every actor inhabits his or her role with panache.

It’s a long show, but I didn’t see any of the younger audience members wiggling or demanding to be let out. Actually, I think there was general disappointment throughout the theatre when this magical confection was over.

Through Jan. 4 at Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah (425 392-2202) and Jan 9-Feb. 8 at Everett Performing Arts Center (425 257-8600), www.villagetheatre.com.

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