Presented by Tyndale Christian School
Reviewed 23 August 2018
Because of its ‘magical’ special effects and the fact that the leading lady should, ideally, ‘fly’, Disney’s Mary Poppins is not an easy musical for adult amateur companies to attempt, let alone a school of youngsters, even if it is the Jnr version. But Tyndale Christian School’s Middle School took up the challenge and pulled it off (and Mary flies!!).
Director Andrew Hawkins seems to revel in working with extremely large casts and has a wonderful knack of filling the stage with hoards but never making it seem cluttered. He also paints some great pictures – the opening to this production in particular is very stunning and memorable.
Hawkins’ co-choreography with Laura Tai is appropriate and handled well by the young cast; this reviewer couldn’t perform the movements to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious slowly, let alone at the break-neck speed these youngsters had to. Musical Director Stacey Webb manages to get an incredible adult sound and volume out of the cast, with no flat notes what-so-ever.
Olivia Bennett is more than ‘piratically perfect’ as Mary Poppins with a stunning voice and fine acting skills. As the head of the Banks’ household, Ethan Bishop really impresses with his well-honed characterisation of the very model of a Victorian patriarch: watch out for this young man further down the track. Abagail Jackson does well as Mrs Banks; whilst Lili Salter and ‘cheeky’ Zachary Partridge (playing the roles on the performance reviewed) are utterly delightful as the Banks children, Jane and Michael. Seth Bruton (Bert), Brodie Baeker (Sid) and Bailey Kapellides (Charlie) make for the quintessential chimney-sweeps, with Seth needing to ‘drop his aitches’ just a tad more to really achieve the Cockney accent, which is almost there.
The rest of the cast do well, with some nice little cameo bits shining through. Kudos to Hawkins for giving those ‘unsung heroes’ of any production, the stage crew, a ‘bow’ at the end. These kids were slick and could match the best of adult crews.
With each year, Tyndale are uping the bar for themselves and this reviewer can’t wait for next year’s production – whatever that may be.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey