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Mary Poppins Review: Bristol Hippodrome

Mary Poppins Review at Bristol Hippodrome


The Bristol Hippodrome
Thursday 29th October – Saturday 28th November 2015

The Bristol Hippodrome is being treated to more than a flying visit by the most famous of all nannies, during the UK and Ireland Tour of the international musical hit Mary Poppins.

The magical story of Mary Poppins, based on the PL Travers stories and the popular Walt Disney film, has been brought to the stage “in the most delightful way” in this Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production.

Matthew Bourne’s Choreography is spectacular and from where I’m sitting, looks absolutely exhausting. Big numbers fill the stage with fast paced synchronised dance sequences and even the children, who star in many of the scenes, manage to maintain high energy levels throughout.

The stage sets are intricate and frequently changing. Transitions are many, varied and unusual. Don’t be surprised to see cherry blossom raining downwards or a kite flying upwards. I feel like a camera’s actually zooming in on the Banks’s house at one point as it smoothly edges towards us filling the stage. We’re led into the Banks’s family sitting room; up to the nursery; out onto smoggy London streets; right up amongst the nighttime chimneys above the city and into a technicolour magical park, filled with dancing statues. We all comment on how the clever use of perspective gives the bank an imposing three dimensional quality  and admire the havoc wreaked in the kitchen during A Spoonful of Sugar.  High praise goes to Bob Crowmey and the team for the fabulously creative set design!

We expect Mary Poppins to fly as she pops in and pops out of course and we’re not disappointed. I watch in wonder at the way this plays out and at Bert’s gravity defying tap dancing. I’m not going to be more specific because I don’t want to spoil to it and if you manage to get a ticket, I defy you not to be impressed too!

The songs are memorable – I particularly enjoy the emotional rendition of Feed the Birds, the speedy dancing to Step in Time, the fun of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and the vibrant colours in Jolly Holiday.

Mary Poppins Review at Bristol Hippodrome



The stage show is sometimes a little dark. My seven year old asks why Mary Poppins isn’t as nice as she is in the film and is quite fascinated by strict nanny, Miss Andrew, also known as “the holy terror”. In case we can’t already tell how evil she is from her thoroughly unpleasant demeanor, dry ice and green lighting help complete the image.

Personally I find the scene where the toys come to life a little disturbing, especially after hearing the foreboding warning:-

“Children who lose their temper will lose everything in the end!”

But it doesn’t phase my children (age 7 and 9) at all, so maybe it’s just me who’s spooked by menacing human sized toys!

Mary Poppins is recommended for ages 5 and up but some more sensitive souls may find parts of it a tad scary. You’ll be the best judge of whether this might bother your own children.

Please note the following:

“children under the age of 3 will not be admitted into the theatre. All persons entering the theatre, regardless of age, must have a ticket”.


I’m impressed with the scenery, the choreography, the music, the effects both on stage and off and the energy of all the performers, especially the children, even right at the end when it must be way past their bedtime! The show incorporates effects I hadn’t imagined were possible in a theatre.

Top family show.

Very impressive.

Can’t recommend it enough.



Joining the previously announced Zizi Strallen as ‘Mary Poppins’ and Matt Lee as ‘Bert’ are Milo Twomey as ‘George Banks’; Rebecca Lock as ‘Winifred Banks’; Penelope Woodman as ‘Miss Andrew’; Wendy Ferguson as ‘Mrs Brill’; Grainne Renihan as ‘Bird Woman’ and Blair Anderson as ‘Robertson Ay’. They are joined by Yves Adang; Abby Bebbington; Greg Bernstein; Jabari Braham; Matthew Caputo; Sophie Caton; Jennifer Davison; Lisa Dent; Joe Dockree; Maria Garrett; Hannah Grace; Graham Hoadly; Jacqueline Hughes; Thomas-Lee Kidd; Antony Lawrence; Adam Margilewski; Anu Ogunmefun; Ben Oliver; Stephanie Powell; Edwin Ray; Adam Rhys-Charles; Sam Salter; John Stacey; Christine Tucker; Alexandra Waite-Roberts; Wreh-Asha Walton and Scott Waugh.

Zizi Strallen most recently starred as ‘Lana’ in Matthew Bourne’s “The Car Man”. Her previous West End credits include: “Cats”; the multi award-winning “Merrily We Roll Along”; “Rock of Ages”; “Dirty Dancing”; “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and Matthew Bourne’s “Cinderella” at Sadler’s Wells.  She has also appeared in “The Music Man” at Chichester Festival Theatre and as ‘Penny Pingleton’ in “Hairspray” at Leicester Curve.

Matt Lee, one of Australia’s premier “song and dance men”, played the role of ‘Bert’ in “Mary Poppins” in the hugely successful Australian production of the show, his portrayal winning him the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His other theatre credits in Australia include “Miss Saigon”, “The Witches of Eastwick”, “Rent”, “Grease” and “The Boy from Oz”. Matt was also a permanent member of the judging panel for Australia’s “So You Think You Can Dance”.

Milo Twomey has most recently been seen in “Twelfth Night” at the Sheffield Crucible.  His other theatre credits include: “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Royal Exchange; “Richard III” at the Nottingham Playhouse; “Dancing at Lughnasa” at Royal & Derngate Northampton and “Lady Windermere’s Fan” at the Manchester Royal Exchange.

Rebecca Lock has most recently appeared as ‘Rosie’ in “Mamma Mia!” at the Novello Theatre. Her other theatre credits include “Oliver!” at Sheffield Crucible; “The Tempest” at Theatre Royal Bath; “The Phantom of The Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre and “Avenue Q” at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Penelope Woodman’s recent theatre credits include: “Sons of the Desert” at the Royal Court Theatre Liverpool; the UK tour of “Birds of a Feather”; “Mamma Mia!” both at the Prince of Wales Theatre and on international tour, and the UK tour of “Never Forget”.

Wendy Ferguson most recently played the role of ‘Madame Thenardier’ in “Les Misérables” at the Queens Theatre. Her other theatre credits include: ‘Carlotta’ in “The Phantom of The Opera” both at Her Majesty’s Theatre and at the 25th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and ‘Widow Corney’ in “Oliver!” at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Grainne Renihan’s theatre credits include: ‘Grizabella’ in “Cats” on UK Tour and in Hamburg; ‘Fantine’ in “Les Misérables” at the Palace Theatre; ‘Florence’ in “Chess” at the Prince Edward Theatre; ‘Guilietta’ in “Aspects of Love” at the Prince of Wales Theatre; ‘Ellen’ in “Miss Saigon” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and ‘Mary Magdalene’ in the European tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

Blair Anderson’s recent theatre credits include “If the Lights Are Too Bright” at the Ovalhouse Theatre; “In Lambeth” at the Southwark Playhouse, the Singapore tour of “Seussical” and the UK tour of “Blockbuster The Musical”.

The stage production of Mary Poppins is co-created by Cameron Mackintosh, has a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes, score by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman including the songs Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds with new songs and additional music and lyrics by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The producer for Disney Theatrical Productions is Thomas Schumacher.

The internationally renowned and multi award-winning creative team assembled for MARY POPPINS is led by stage and film director Richard Eyre. Co-direction and Choreography is by Matthew Bourne, with Co-choreography by Stephen Mear. Set and Costume Design is by Bob Crowley with Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, Sound Design by Paul Groothuis and Orchestrations by William David Brohn.

The International Tour of MARY POPPINS is Directed by James Powell with Original Choreography adapted by Geoffrey Garratt. Musical Supervision is by Stephen Brooker. The stage production of MARY POPPINS originally opened in 2004 and ran in the West End for three years and over 1,250 performances. During this time it won the Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreography and Best Set Design as well as the Evening Standard Award for Best Set Design and the Variety Club Award for Best Musical. The Broadway production ran for over six years where it won the Tony Award for Best Set Design. The show has subsequently played to great success in Holland and Mexico. It has toured Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, the UK, has been seen by over 11 million people and is currently breaking box office records in Vienna.

Mary Poppins

The Bristol Hippodrome

Thursday 29 October – Saturday 28 November 2015

Tue – Sat at 7.30 pm

Mats on Thu & Sat at 2.30 pm excluding 29 Oct & 12 Nov

Wed mat at 2.30 pm on 11 Nov

Additional mat on Wed 25 Nov at 2.30 pm

Sun Performances:

1 Nov – 2.00 pm & 7.00 pm

8, 15, 22 Nov – 2.00 pm

Tickets: from £22.50

Concessions available at certain performances

Enjoyed our Mary Poppins review ? Then why not check out other show reviews on Practically Perfect Mums?

Little Table of Delights

I Puritani

Romeo and Juliet


Calamity Jane



Rock of Ages

The Buddy Holly Story

Tonight’s the Night


Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

Robin Cousins’ ICE

Dirty Dancing

West Side Story

Happy Days

Top Hat


Starlight Express




White Christmas



14 comments… add one
  • Erica Price 16/11/2015, 07:01

    It sounds an interesting production and I’m intrigued by the darker side of Mary Poppins.

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