Thursday, October 25, 2012

At the Theatre: A Spoonful of Musical Magic

I never enjoyed the film version of Mary Poppins when I was growing up.  I'm not entirely sure why, though I suspect that my reasons are similar to those held by P.L. Travers, the author of the novels, in that the film was too sugary.  I've somehow never read the novels, but I've now seen the musical adaptation twice, first in Chicago in 2009 and again last week here in Pittsburgh.  And I adore it.

Lolita often seem to gravitate toward children's fantasy from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, especially Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan, so I feel that Mary Poppins should be getting more attention.  The play, at least, is whimsical without being too twee, with elaborate sets and special effects that bring Mary's magical world to life.  During the "Step in Time" number, the actor portraying Bert dances on the walls and ceiling of the proscenium stage, and in the Chicago production, Mary flew over the audience during the finale (being a one-week touring engagement, I imagine there was not time to prepare and test the proper rigging needed for that trick here in Pittsburgh).  With epic nanny battles, statues that come to life, and flying umbrellas, I think there's enough magic here to satisfy the Alice-loving Lolita.  And, of course, the ideas of striving to be one's best and retaining the kindness of childhood, which are present throughout, are tenets of most lifestyle Lolitas, which should add to the appeal.

If you find yourself in New York or the tour is coming to your city, please check out the musical.  And remember: anything can happen.

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