One of Diana's college classmates plays Mr. Banks in the touring company of Mary Poppins, so we went to see it tonight. The music is not my favorite thing in the "Disney Vault," but I do remember having the soundtrack on vinyl when I was a kid. I don't think I've seen the movie in 25 years.
Disney doesn't screw around with their theatrical shows, that's for sure. Of course, the first thing I'm interested in is the technical side, and the show was tight, start to finish. The scenery was relatively straight forward and I loved the lighting and effects. It really complimented the costumes too. Even with the flying, the tech was never outright distracting.
The performances were all pretty solid, and I was particularly surprised by the kids. The actress playing Mary could have been Julie Andrews, as she sounded perhaps even better than her.
The highlight of the show was easily the dance number around "Step in Time." It was everything that makes you like musicals. Huge number of dancers on the stage, lots of tap, and an actor who literally tapped his way around the proscenium. You don't see that every day. Thunderous response from the audience on that one.
The actual adaptation was OK I think. One of the new songs definitely added a slightly darker side to the end of the first act. They could've ditched the butler character. Other than that, I don't remember a lot about the movie. The bottom line is that it was pretty entertaining, and very accessible to a range of ages. The kids seemed to love it.
And by the way, the kids were very well behaved, if a little fidgety here and there. That's more than I can say for the moron 20-something women sitting next to us. Through two scenes in the first act, they're talking to the extent that I can't even hear the show. I was in awe at how rude they were. I finally leaned over and asked if she was planning to talk the entire show. She gave me some lip like, "Seriously?" They left in the middle of the first act for beer refills, and sat elsewhere, fortunately.
I haven't been in to Playhouse Square since I was a kid. Diana of course worked there. I have to say, I often forget that Cleveland has some pretty cool buildings, and the theaters are certainly among them. The State is a little rough around the edges, but still a pretty impressive space.
Overall, we enjoyed the show and I'm glad we got out to see it. Hopefully we'll get a chance to meet up with Diana's friend too.