Sunday 8 December 2019
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theguardian - 21 days ago

The week in theatre: Mary P Murder in the Cat Much Ado About Nothing – review

Prince Edward t Southwark Cat Wilton’s Music Hall, London
Richard Eyre’s Mary Poppins revival soars, TS Eliot’s verse drama struggles under the weight of its gravitas, and Much Ado makes for rather a messy song and danceMary Poppins can be relied upon to return. We have watched her neat figure ascending skywards holding the umbrella with the green parrot’s head so often – in PL Travers’s books, watching the 1964 Disney film and in the recent sequel – her back ramrod straight, her hair glossily black as a wooden doll’s. And though some of us might watch her depart with a lump in our throats, we have known that, somehow, she always finds her way back. Now, here she is again, practically perfect in every way, in a glorious revisiting of the 2004 Cameron Mackintosh musical, directed by Richard Eyre. You will not find a more theatrically escapist outing in London this winter.Zizi Strallen’s delicious Mary Poppins is in love with herself – revelling in the pleasure of neatly tying the sash of a starched apron around her waist, of turning her toes out into first position, of patting her hair approvingly in the glass. She has sparkling eyes, a radiant smile and a carpet bag. Who could ask for more? And watch the way she heads upstairs, her head held high like a swan’s. Nor does Strallen neglect the underlying mystery of the role because… who is Mary? On the face of it, she is a prude – rebuffing cheerful Bert’s advances. But Strallen, although suitably secretive, allows one to speculate idly about whether Mary might be more available to her “diamond in the rough” once our backs are turned. Continue reading...

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