The combined experience of the dinner and show is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
According to my tape measure, if my measurements are correct, ‘Mary Poppins’ is a musical that’s practically perfect in every way. The same can’t be said for the measurements of my waist line, especially after partaking of the delicious buffet at La Comedia, but that’s a different story. The combined experience of the dinner and show, based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Disney film, ‘Mary Poppins’ is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
The title character of ‘Mary Poppins’ is played by Megan Buzzard, who brings a whole pound, rather than a spoonful of sugar to the role. She flies into the hearts of the Banks family, teaching them valuable lessons, but also makes an impact on the audience with a magical stage presence.
Much like a hat rack and other items, Buzzard takes out of her carrying bag, she manages to pull a sweet, yet powerful voice from her delicate frame.
Whether serving as a chimney sweep or a painter, Dan Reardon creates a fantastical land with his melodic vocals as Bert. His voice is as smooth as his movements, as a visual highlight is when he scales the rooftops in a unique way. I also dare anyone to make it all the way home, or even to the parking lot, without at least humming “Chim Chim Cheree.” (Warning: There’s several addicting tunes)
The staging of ‘Mary Poppins’ deserves credit, as the set is quickly transformed to different parts of the Banks home. Transitions are also swiftly made to other scenes such as the park and the bank. I was also impressed with the level of special effects when the kitchen is magically restored from total disarray and don’t be surprised if Mary Poppins flies directly over your head.
The entire cast is splendid, including the children who appear beyond their years in talent. Chris Kramer who's as dependable as Meryl Streep for a high quality performance delivers again as Mr. Banks. Another La Comedia favorite is Denise Cox who as both Mrs. Brill and the Bird Lady has the audience eating right out of the palm of her hand with every word. Though her words are simple and few, they are extremely satisfying, like breadcrumbs to birds. (Side note: The drive home with my wife did consist of a conversation about the greatness Cox brings to every role she fills and how it's always a pleasure to see her on stage) Speaking of veterans, Charlie Goetz adds to his legendary career with three more roles in the production.
A newcomer who really stands out is Amanda Forker. As Miss Andrew, she's hauntingly captivating as a monstrous nanny. It’s a small part, but Forker makes a big impression with it. (She was also a topic on the ride home). Also worthy of mention is the performance of “Supercali…” you know, that really long word. It’s hard to spell, not to mention pronounce, but the cast does it eloquently, with high energy and rhythm. As if the pronunciation wasn’t enough, they also add hand motions for each letter.
Beneath all the catchy songs, special effects, and wonderful performances ‘Mary Poppins’ also includes a valuable lesson for all families to learn or be reminded of. Worth isn’t always measured monetarily or with a tape measure, but by quality time spent with loved one. The time spent at ‘Mary Poppins’ will prove itself to be practically perfect in every way and as a source of conversation on the ride home, if not singing the songs.
‘Mary Poppins’ continues at La comedia through August 31.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
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