Mary Poppins – Theatre Under The Stars
Until August 19th
Guest reviewer Jay Catterson
Another summer in the city signals the start of yet another season of Theatre Under The Stars at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. Now in its 71st season, TUTS Vancouver got off to a smashing start with their latest production of Disney’s Mary Poppins. All of the songs you know and love from the Disney film are here, along with newly-minted ones that expand on the plot based on the novels by P.L. Travers.
Now was this production “practically perfect” as the titular heroine sings? Not quite, but it gets pretty close.
There’s plenty to like here, with the set design by Brian Ball and costumes by Chris Sinosich serving up a surprisingly sumptuous feast for the eyes throughout the show. The cast delivers on all fronts, under the direction of Shel Piercy and choreography by Nicol Spinola, with notable standouts including Victor Hunter as the Cockney-spouting jack-of-all-trades Bert, and Sheryl Anne Wheaton and Joseph Spitale as the hilarious dynamic-duo Mrs. Brill and Robertson Ay. As for Poppins herself, Ranae Miller gives an adequate performance as the delightfully terse flying nanny, but along with some of her vocals coming off quite shrill at times, her performance lacked emotional resonance in comparison to her co-stars. But the true highlight of this production belongs to Russell Roberts as George Banks and Lalainia Lindbjerg-Strelau as Winifred Banks, whose brilliantly nuanced performances provide much needed substance amongst all of the saccharine.