Originally from South Africa, Lauren moved here in 2008 to pursue a Law Degree. She had some theatre experience from her school days and has spent quite a while singing with the Soul Factor Gospel Choir and in the ensemble for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of My Fair Lady before being given the role of the female lead in Therry Dramatic Society’s She Loves Me.
Mary Poppins is a whole different ball game! Such an iconic character carries so many audience expectations that Lauren confesses she is approaching the role with some trepidation; but that is mixed with a huge dose of excitement and enthusiasm. Lauren is enjoying the rehearsal period and working with such a talented and experienced cast.
She will work most closely with Brendan Cooney who is playing Bert the Chimney Sweep and James McCluskey-Garcia who is portraying Mr Banks. Lauren has nothing but praise for these actors and the feeling is mutual. Cooney says “Lauren has been fantastic to work with and very professional in her approach to the show. Her characterisation of Mary Poppins is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” Lauren says Brendan is lots of fun as Bert and is easy to work with.
‘Mr Banks’ aka James has high praise for Lauren “She not only plays Mary Poppins, she is Mary Poppins. Her grace, charm, intelligence and warmth don’t finish when rehearsal is over. I can see why Matt cast her. I can’t wait for Adelaide audiences to experience her. And I’m a little bit excited too!” Lauren feels that James inhabits the Mr Banks persona completely!
I asked Lauren how she felt working so closely with children and her reply was that Shalani Wood and Sebastien Skubala (as Jane and Michael Banks) bring so much energy and enthusiasm to rehearsals that they reinvigorate her and the cast. She says this has been an incredible experience developing the relationships in this musical and she is excited that opening night is only just a couple of days away.
Lauren has enjoyed the experience so much, she is applying to enter the Musical Theatre courses that Western Australia and Victoria have to offer: she wants to do this for a living! Here’s hoping she gets accepted.
For Matt Bryne Media’s Mary Poppins, Gordon Combes will be Musical Director and Sue Pole Choreographer – a great team.
Interview by Fran Edwards
Mary Poppins will run at the Arts Theatre from July 2 to 4, 7 to 11 and 14 to 18 at 8 p.m., and July 4, 11 and 18 at 2 p.m., and at Elizabeth’s Shedley Theatre from July 23 to 25 and July 30 to August 1 at 8 p.m., and July 25 and August 1 at 2 p.m. There will be $30 Budget Nights on July 7 & 14 at the Arts and July 23 at the Shedley at 8 p.m.
Admission is Adults $40 and Concession $35 (plus MBM Booking Fee) with Group Discounts of $38/$33 for Groups of 10 or more. Bookings fees apply for all tickets. All Seating is reserved. Bookings are available online at www.mattbyrnemedia.com.au or on 8262 4906 or BASS or dramatix.com.au