Magic of Mary headed to Sydney

In just a few weeks’ time, the all-singing all-dancing hit musical phenomenon that has taken the world by storm will explode onto the Sydney Capitol Theatre stage.

In just a few weeks’ time, the all-singing all-dancing hit musical phenomenon that has taken the world by storm will explode onto the Sydney Capitol Theatre stage.

Mary Poppins
– the supercalifragilistic musical, fresh from a highly successful nine-month stint in Melbourne, will open its doors to eager Sydney audiences on Thursday, May 5.

The critically acclaimed show is a meticulous amalgamation of the much-loved P.L. Travers books and the popular 1964 film, with a few extra special trimmings from the musical producers.

Audiences can expect to hear all of their old favourites including ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, ‘Practically Perfect’, ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’, ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, ‘Step In Time’, ‘Feed The Birds’, and ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’, brought back to life with poppy choreography, colourful, intricate costumes and masterfully detailed backdrops.

Not to mention the star-studded cast including Verity Hunt- Ballard as Mary Poppins, Matt Lee as Bert, Philip Quast as George Banks, Marina Prior as Winifred Banks, Sally-Anne Upton as Mrs Brill, Christopher Rickerby as Robertson Ay, Judi Connelli as Miss Andrew and Debra Byrne as ‘The Bird Woman’.

Former stand up comedian, Sally-Anne Upton, who self-admittedly brings “wit, sarcasm and the odd one-liner” to the show through her zany character, Mrs Clara Brill, said the musical has managed to strike a nerve with some rather unlikely spectators.

“We were out signing autographs after the show one night, when a lady from Shepparton came over and started talking to me. Her partner, a farmer dressed in an ill-fitting suit, told me how much he usually hates musicals but that he adored the show. He said ‘Now I’ll have to go back and confess to all my farming mates I loved it,’” Ms Upton recalls.

“All the shows you do have something special to offer, but Mary Poppins is quite unique in the sense that every member of the family can take something positive away from it.”

Despite months of preparation and intensive rehearsals, Ms Upton said the show hadn’t been without a few bizarre moments.

“We had an incident with the ladder when my offsider, Christopher, was sick and the understudy had taken his place. Liam opened the ladder differently and it all unfolded like a deck chair, so there was this moment where we had to go off script,” she said.

“The audience didn’t realise until Marina, who was waiting in the wings, chuckled. So I went along with it, and I asked Liam if I should stand on the ladder and he shook his head while saying yes and I said ‘are you sure?’ So there was a beautiful, unscripted comic moment we got to share with the audience.”

Jersey Boys star, Verity Hunt-Ballard, who plays the role of magical maid Mary Poppins, said while the hectic show schedule is tiring, she’s honoured to give the hotly contested role her all, night after night.

“It can be pretty exhausting but it really helps me knowing that people are seeing the show for the first time each night. I try to give my all in each performance because I know a lot of families have been saving up to come and see such a special show and often it’s the children’s first experience in the theatre, so if I can contribute to that then what a wonderful gift,” the rising star of Australian musical theatre said.

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– Lauren Grimson

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