Ever sat in an auditorium clapping and tapping your way through a show and wondered what goes into producing the performance? Yesterday saw the first of four days spent setting up for the stage production of Mary Poppins in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin. Come Thursday daily pre-show tasks including twenty-eight loads of laundry, five hours of ironing and three hours of technical and safety checks will commence. With a touring cast of thirty-five, including ten children who alternate the roles of Jane and Michael Banks, alongside one hundred and twenty local people, plus thirteen in the orchestra, it's no surprise tickets are priced as they are. "It's an absolute machine, but it's what you expect when you have the quality of Cameron Mackintosh with the fusion of the magic of Disney," says Neil White, Tour Director.
"People expect the film on stage, it's not. It takes a lot of the references from the Travers books. It's not a squeaky clean show, there's a lot of the darker side which is actually quite nice and gives Mary much more fun." he adds.
Fear not, you will still be singing ?A Spoonful of Sugar' and ?Let's go fly a Kite' the whole way home. All your favourite songs are performed with even more sparkle and a few additional characters.
Twenty-four-year-old Zizi Strallen stars as Mary and thirty-five-year-old Matt Lee plays Bert. They are both very excited to come to Dublin, especially as its Zizi's first time. Matt was on tour here a few years ago with Britney Spears and says his mum will visit from Sydney for Christmas. Zizi's sister actually played Mary in a previous production alongside Matt over in Austrailia, so he's thrilled to get to tour with another talented Strallen.
How does Zizi feel about the role? "Mary Poppins was the big movie in the family growing up so I'm thrilled to get to play the part. It's the hardest and biggest role I've ever played, but the most fun and rewarding."
When asked about the reaction to the show Matt says, "The gasp of the audience when Mary flies out over the crowd is the best and I get to tap-dance upside down on the ceiling, so hearing the audience's enjoyment is so gratifying and reminds us as to why we bust our guts for three hours on stage."
So if watching Mary Poppins is a Christmas tradition then why not combine it with a festive family outing to this magical musical? Or, buy tickets as a Christmas present - it's Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Mary Poppins runs December 3 - January 9 Tickets here