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Practically perfect in every way: Go check out 'Mary Poppins'

By by dianna wray/dwray@vicad.com
Sept. 28, 2011 at 4:28 a.m.

WHAT: "Mary Poppins"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday through Oct. 9

WHERE: The Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., San Antonio

COST: $28 and up

WHAT: Ether Dome

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 9

WHERE: The Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave., Houston

COST: $35-$60

WHAT: "The Tempest"

WHEN: 8:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Oct. 1

WHERE: The EmilyAnn Theatre, 1101 Farm-to-Market Road 2325, Wimberley

COST: $15

WHAT: "Life and Luxury in 18th Century Paris"

WHEN: Through Dec. 11

WHERE: The Beck Building, The Houston Museum of Fine Arts, 5601 Main St., Houston

COST: $7

I'm a big believer that there's no such thing as "perfect."

Nothing in life has any business being flawless, and, when it comes down to it, it's the flaws that make things and people interesting.

Still, when Mary Poppins comes into view, the famed English nanny said to be "practically perfect in every way," I bend my rules.

Why? Because Mary Poppins is awesome. I think my kid-sized self would have thought she was pretty neat, but when she opens that carpet bag - you know, the one that even holds a floor lamp, complete with a thickly fringed lamp shade - I was pretty much sold.

I still love the 1964 film, so when I heard Disney was producing a stage version of the story, my eyebrows shot up, all dubious and doubtful.

I was sure they were going to screw up something my 5-year-old self would find decidedly less than, you know, perfect. (I may not approve of perfect things, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in them.)

Anyway, the musical premiered in London, and then on Broadway, and, despite all of my raised eyebrows, it was a charming show.

Drawing from both the film and the books the film was based on, the stage show is a magical creation.

As the show starts, the audience is pulled into the decidedly British Banks household as their children, Jane and Michael, drive off yet another nanny. They write their advertisement outlining the requirements of a "perfect" nanny. Mary Poppins answers the ad, and that's when things get interesting.

If you grew up loving the film starring Julie Andrews, unruffle your feathers. The show is respectful to the movie, while bringing a different kind of magic to life on stage.

The music from the film is still satisfyingly singable, while the newly added tunes add depth, helping us better understand what is driving characters like Mrs. Banks and Mary Poppins herself.

But go see for yourself and check out the production as it stops over at the Majestic in San Antonio.

There's no such thing as perfect, but after a few hours with Mary Poppins, you may find yourself doubting that claim. Which is perfectly fine.



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