By Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer
Most of us grew up with a bit of Mary Poppins in our lives. It is so intrinsically part of our culture that the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is in the Oxford Dictionary. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious means extraordinarily good and wonderful, and the word perfectly describes the story of the 1964 “Disney Mary Poppins” — extraordinarily good and wonderful.
This well-known narrative is on stage at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse from now through Nov. 11, 2018. It is followed by Candlelight’s much-anticipated “Scrooge! The Musical” from Nov. 23 through Dec. 31.
If the entire story doesn’t immediately come to mind and only snippets of the movie starring Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews are what you can recall, this play is a great refresher. Mary Poppins (Harmony Livingston) is a governess who simply shows up unannounced when the Banks children, played by Julia Gibson and Ryan Fisher) have run off their umpteenth governess.
Mary Poppins, who seems to have magical powers, shows the children and Mr. and Mrs. Banks the meaning of a lot of things, the biggest of which is the importance of family. It’s a timeless message that rings as true today as it did in 1964.
The famous chimney sweep who is so endearingly played in the film by Dick Van Dyke, is brought to life by Cole Emarine, who is his own kind of Bert, sassy and playful.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Bert dances with cartoon penguins, and the way Candlelight has pulled this scene off is brilliant. We won’t give it away here, but audiences are sure to be pleased with the on-stage interpretation.
The flow between scenes is effortless, and much if this is due to excellent stage-set construction and movement during the play. Candlelight has always had top-notch staging, and “Mary Poppins” is no exception. The sets are done exactly the way they should be; non-obtrusive and yet beautiful.
The Banks children are standout performers and their level of professionalism, even on opening night, was something to be noted with appreciation. The entire cast is polished, but a standout was Annie Dwyer as the maid, Mrs. Brill. Dwyer provides comedy relief in the form of great timing as well as savvy stage sense.
The big dance scenes are showstoppers and add a real Broadway feel to this production.
Dining plays a part in all shows at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, and on the standard menu for this show are bangers and mash, fish and chips, chicken Tiki Masala, shepherd’s pie and cobb salad. Upgrades in the form of appetizers, entrees such as stuffed Cornish hen, and adult beverages, are available. The 2019 season, the 11th at Candlelight, includes “Nunsense,” “Oliver” and “Tarzan.” Visit ColoradoCandlelight.com for more information and to purchase tickets. They are also available at (970) 744-3747.
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