Mary Poppins has been brilliantly adapted from the beloved books by Australia’s own P.L Travers and the classic 1964 Walk Disney Film, and is currently staged at the Frankston Arts Centre from January 2016. Want tickets? Too bad, they’re sold out!
During the 2015 the Victorian Guild Awards, PLOS Musical Production received 15 nominations for their last production – Legally Blonde -taking home enough Perspex bricks to construct a small cottage. It’s with no surprise that the community behind PLOS have developed yet another stellar production of exceptional standards and incredible technical achievement.
Drawing inspiration from both the 1954 Disney film and original books, director Karl McNamara has created a refreshing interpretation. McNamara has done a remarkable job on communicating with each head of stagecraft to reflect his concept and deliver a truly ‘magical’ production.
Set changes were executed perfectly with the assistance of McNamara’s multimedia projection design across the proscenium arch, incorporating stylized cartoon imagery. Audiences watched in awe as the images dissolved seamlessly from scene to scene. I was amazed at the professional standard of the multimedia, graphic design, and animations.
Choreographer Steve Rostron has created some super-catchy dance moves, which lift the production value by 100 points to Gryffindor. His detail does not go unnoticed, filling potentially boring and predictable steps with captivating movements as seen in ‘Practically Perfect’ and ‘Spoonful of Sugar’. Highlights include the tap in ‘Step in Time’, particularly the cute moments with Bert and Mary together.
Jason Lords’ lighting design was very effective. Foot lights were positioned creatively to cast intriguing shadows, and moving lights used sparingly for dramatic effect. Whilst I found the moving gobos to be sometimes distracting in the Banks’ residence, I appreciated how they were utilized to emphasize the dysfunctional behavior within the family.
Marcello LoRicco, assisted by Steve Cooke and LSS, have delivered, yet again, the best sound design in community theatre – not a pop or crack to be heard; sound effects delivered perfectly and well blended. For those sound designers that say themed mic checks are not appropriate of effective, I disagree! 80s Rock Ballads are always welcome at LSS.
Set, originally by the brilliant Chris White, has been supervised and executed by the talents of Mike Fletcher for the Frankston Arts Centre. You know that mixed feeling when you meet someone that’s good at everything? That’s Fletcher, and I just want to punch and kiss him at the same time.
Sue Fletcher as the Musical Director has done a terrific job with the cast, ensuring tight harmonies and snappy cut-offs. The orchestra sounds beautiful, with particular kudos to the percussion for the crazy assortment of instruments including a Theremin…. that’s that weird alien sounding thing. A few farts from the brass, but after another show run it will be perfect.
Nadia Gianinotti in the title role Mary Poppins was (without using a cliché quote from the show…you know the one!) really, really, really wonderful! I couldn’t help but wonder which famous soprano she fused with since her last year’s role as Morticia in The Addams Family. Her vocal range doesn’t seem to end as she rips through the score with ease. Gianinotti charmed the audience from her first entrance from prompt side to a few casual umbrella rides from the dress circle. Without doubt, Gianinotti has scored the most expensive role in amateur theatre Victoria. If her flying wasn’t incredible enough, Gianinotti delivered the character with a respectable balance of light and shade making her a truly lovable nanny… which we now all want one for ourselves.
Andrew Perry is a fantastic Bert, charismatic from beginning to end – stunning voice with dance abilities to match. His tap solo in ‘Step in Time’ was entrancing. Perry held strong character during many scene transitions, filling in time with his infectious and optimistic personality.
The Banks’ children, Felicity Bertram and Lenny Thomas, were brilliant! I don’t particularly like the musicals Annie or Oliver – too many screaming children! – but these two, I’d be happy to adopt. Daniel Ginsberg as George Banks brought much laughter to what could easily be stale character. His emotional journey was well executed. His wife Winifred Banks, played by Lauren Elise, was delivered with ease. Acting choices like her understated gate (movement, gesture) contrasted with the song ‘Being Mrs Banks’, creating a great climax for the character.
Comic reliefs Janet Reid (Mrs. Brill) and Aidan Niarros (Robinson Ay) provided some much needed entertainment in the interior house scenes. The chemistry between these two was a highlight in the show. Simply hilarious! Servant Stefania Gatt was many times was over looked, but provided a needed contrast to the pair.
Liz Catford (Miss Andrew) was perfectly frightening. Her magic battle with Poppins was an excellent peak of her character. Lauren DeSilva offered some giggles as Mrs. Corry with a nice sassy voice to follow.
The ensemble was strong and engaging. They provided much support to the production and vision including slick slow motion scene work, brilliantly absurd talk shop characters, and some impressive tapping. Special mention to Daragh Willis (Park Keeper) Peter Jenkins (Admiral Bloom) for their incredible character work offering some hilarious moments on stage.
I’m lucky enough to film/photograph countless productions a year from both community and professional theatre. PLOS Musical Production delivers a production so tight that I wouldn’t be disappointed if I paid more money for a ticket. $50 is an absolute bargain for this quality of production. If you have Facebook, and are friends with at least once cast member, you will know by your newsfeed that the season is SOLD OUT. Just in case you missed the live ticket countdown…
Make sure to purchase tickets early to their next production, Miss Saigon. If it’s anything like the previous shows they have done, you’re in for an amazing experience.