Chicago Theatre Review
Quick! ‘Step in Time’ to ‘Mary Poppins’ before she’s gone.
By Devlyn Camp
The winds must have changed again because Mary Poppins has returned to the Cadillac Palace Theatre. With a whole new cast and the same enchanting spell, Poppins is entertaining the masses just as she always has. Rachel Wallace has taken on the many iconic clothing articles of this particular nanny – the coat, the hat, the bag and, of course, the umbrella – and brought a little Julie Andrews and a lot of realism to Mary. Although it’s hard to catch as a child watching the classic film, seeing Wallace portray the character revealsa Poppins who is quite full of herself, but rightfully so. More expressed in the book than the film, the story is actually rather dark. In living form, tableaus of Londoners in dreary clothes and umbrellas among the steamy wet streets stage a darker world. When Mary arrives, the gorgeous grays flash away and the winds whip in with electric color.
The sets are filled with life. Kids are dazzled by the enormous foldout house, awakening statues, and rolling smokestacks – not to mention the anticipated magic of Mary’s bag and enchanted umbrella. There is no disappointment in the screen-to-stage transition. The musical has every piece of the film and more from the original P. L. Travers book from which it’s based. Adding the charming touch of live theatre to the pair makes this show it’s very own form. There is no other way to see this perspective on the tale of the nanny who brought magic to commonplace life.
Just as fascinating as when you were a child, this production is a fantastic few hours of familiar song and dance, striking costumes and chimney sweeping. Even with its spooky touch, Mary Poppins is simply – gosh darn the cliché – practically perfect.
Cadillac Palace Theatre
Now through November 6th
Tickets starting at $25, available at BroadwayInChicago.com
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