Hard to believe that Mary Poppins is celebrating its 45th anniversary. I don’t think anyone can forget the fun of her “bag”…with all the impossible items she takes out of it. Even as an adult, it still makes my eyes widen. As much as I love the movie, I really disliked the Broadway production. My mother-in-law insisted that I take our teen age boys to see it. The fact that our tickets ran against a Giants playoff game, certainly didn’t help matters. And I was in one of those horrible positions we often find ourselves in…taking our kids to something they have no interest in seeing. I would never have thought that such a production would be interesting to two teenage boys–but the tickets were a gift. So we all went–with two cranky boys in tow. Of course we get there, and we are surrounded by scores of little kids…adding just more upset to my older son’s angst. In front of us there are two toddlers and some preschoolers. My older son takes off his glasses in protest. He’s there, but he won’t “watch”. You have to give him some credit for civil disobedience.
The show started off well enough. It is super long (2hours and 45 minutes with a 15 minute intermission)! Where is the script editor you might ask? Do they know this is a musical meant for families with young children? And of course no one can be Julie Andrews…but I was determined to be open-minded. But then we get to the scene where the kids are sent to their room for misbehaving and then that’s where the nightmare begins. Their toys start coming to life and they are scary. All of the kids in front of us leap into their parents laps–they are appropriately freaked out. I don’t understand why this addition was necessary–especially given the target audience for this show. Young children have a hard time separating fantasy from reality–what a frightening concept to think your toys can come to life and be straight out scary to boot.
As to my own family drama, my older son asked at intermission if he could go home…we agreed and he left with such joy, at least I made some part of his day cheery. My husband then looked at me, “how would you feel if I left with him?”….”Go, go”….so Matthew and I watched the rest of the show together…down to the very last moment when she flies away over head.