MINTY: ‘Patsy’ singer Hosie perfect in ‘Mary Poppins’

It’s super califragilisticexpiali docious!

Arts Club Theatre’s Christmas production of Mary Poppins is all that and more. This spectacular musical is two-and-a-half hours of non-stop energy, magical songs and applause-worthy dance routines. This better-than-the-Disney-movie show (my opinion) runs until Jan. 4 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage on Granville Street, Vancouver.

Sara-Jeanne Hosie is practically perfect as the title character. She wins hearts with this performance – the best of her career, I think. Loved her as Patsy Cline (and I am not a fan of country music) in A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, but she is absolutely perfect as Mary Poppins. You won’t need a spoonful of sugar to watch this performance. I don’t give rave reviews, so pay attention. This is a rave review.

The whole production of Mary Poppins is simply stunning. From the opening number of "Chim Chim Cher-ee," sung by Bert (Scott Walters), to the finale of "A Spoonful of Sugar/A Shooting Star," there is not a musical miscue or ho-hum song. You will leave the theatre humming and elated. That is what this story does for you.

Mary Poppins is the stern but kind nanny who helps her young charges (brilliant young actors Kassia Danielle Malmquist and Graham Verchere) rediscover the best things in life. Their father (Warren Kimmel) finds that he can survive in the business of banking

by backing the hard-working honest man rather than the schemer. And he can make time for his family – the most important thing of all.

This is a superb cast all around. Susan Anderson is Mrs. Brill and the bird woman. Caitriona Murphy is Mrs. Banks, and Katey Wright is Miss Andrew/Mrs. Corry. More applause, standing ovation. Of course, I must compliment choreographer

Valerie Easton, especially for the all-out, OMG tap dancing for "Step In Time." Costumes by Sheila White and her fantastic crew are a visual treat – absolutely perfect from head to toe. I have made my fair share of costumes and, in this department, I can get critical. And I do. My hat is off to this costume crew. Outstanding is not a good enough word, but I’ve already used the "super" word in this column’s opening sentence.

Mary Poppins is a technically challenging show. Mary has to fly, as do birds and kites. There are magic bits. All these actions are more easily accomplished in a movie where you can keep filming until you achieve perfection. In live theatre, every moment can be different, and there are no retakes. The concept takes imagination. Making it all happen before a live audience takes a talented tech crew. Well done; you, too, get a fair share of the applause.

Evening performances of Mary Poppins start at 7 p.m., so take note; we are used to shows starting at 8 p.m. at the Stanley, and there were late arrivals. You won’t want to miss a minute of Mary! For tickets, call the box office at 604-687-1644 or email boxoffice@artsclub.com.

Culture is the buzz word of the year, apparently. At least, it was on the top of the list of words looked up by young people. Gads, are we not exposing our youth to culture? Sure this word has many interpretations, but let’s just say culture as applied to the arts. Spending time with your kids and taking them on outings (like Mary Poppins) will last longer as a memory than the latest iPad or iPhone, or whatever. It is a great gift.

Some parents, of course, are already on the culture bandwagon. For sure, I did my time toting tots to cultural events, dance lessons, piano lessons and orchestra rehearsals. We went to concerts, shows and recitals. So I do understand the time it takes to include your child in the arts. Claudia Eichbauer took the time to send me a note about her daughter, Karina McRae. This is Karina’s first year performing with the White Rock Players’ Club in its annual pantomime. "She really loves participating," says proud mom.

Karina, by the way, is one of three little pigs in the panto, and her name got left out in last week’s review. So now you have all of the Three Little Pigs. And good job to the parents, too. Babes in the Wood has a very long run, and it can collide with Christmas plans. Thank you, all parents, for enabling your children to participate. And it is definitely OK to let them know how wonderful you are for encouraging their interests in the performing arts. I love you, too.

melminty@telus.net

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