Thursday, June 2, 2016

Eat, drink and be Mary

Poppins soars at BAAY
by Christopher Key

I doubt if there is anything original I can say about the beloved musical Mary Poppins.  It’s simply a classic, adored by children and adults alike for its witty dialogue, evocative characters and memorable music.  Put that together with some truly gifted kids from Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth and you’ve got the most delightful evening ten bucks can buy.

I may also have exhausted all the adjectives I can use to describe what BAAY founder David Post can do with his young charges.  He directs with an obvious love for the material, but it’s his love for the kids that creates the kind of magic Mary Poppins can only dream of. 

Pianist and Vocal Director Evan Ingalls has them sounding like a million bucks and you will simply not believe what student choreographer Zoë Taylor Sturtz has achieved with the dance numbers.

Photo credit - Christopher Key

Ms. Poppins herself is played to perfection by Lainie Mueller.  She not only sparkles as an actor, but has a wonderful voice that compares favorably with a certain actor who made the role famous in the 1964 Disney film.

Photo credit - Christopher Key

The nonpareil nanny, of course, is assisted in her enchantments by Bert the Chimney Sweep.  Meixing Rain plays Bert with the requisite twinkle in the eye and a terrific voice.

Photo credit - Christopher Key

Magic is perhaps the only thing that can save a couple of kids from becoming typical upper-class British twits like their Father.  Mehar Singh has the whole stiff-upper-lip, once-more-dear-friends-into-the-breach thing down cold.

Photo credit - Christopher Key

His long-suffering wife, a closet suffragette, is portrayed with hand-wringing pathos by Jadelyn Drake.  It’s a bit of a stretch to believe that such a man as her husband could unbend long enough to reproduce, but there are two children whose lives are changed by the flying nanny.

Corinn van Woerden and Ethan Riggs are absolutely delightful as the Banks children.  Riggs, in particular, has a mischievous stage presence that bodes well for future roles.

There is an all-star cast of BAAY brilliance backing them up and that’s just the ones I saw tonight.  There’s a complete second cast who are most certainly as good as this one, but there’s only one of me.  My recommendation would be to see the show at least twice to appreciate all the hard-working kids who make BAAY rock.

Dana Crediford, who seems to be everywhere, provides the imaginative costuming and you’d better believe the kids hang up their costumes when she tells ‘em, thank you very much!

Mary Poppins plays June 3 – 12 at the BAAY playhouse at the corner of State and Maple.  Tickets are $10 at the door or on the website.

You may find that you enjoy this even more than the movie thanks to the wild energy the BAAY kids bring to every performance.

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