Thursday, February 04, 2010

You're never too old

There are some things in life for which we grow too old, though very few things in my opinion. "Mary Poppins" is certainly not one of those things. For Christmas, I decided to get my mother-in-law (who is nearing 80 and is a great lover of live theatre) tickets to see the musical at the Ahmanson Theatre with her son and daughter-in-law. It was a pleasant way, spending time with family, to end a very long day (I will spare you the details).

Our evening started with dinner at Noe at the Omni Hotel. Fortunately for us, DineLA's Restaurant Week was occurring the evening of the play, so we decided to take advantage of the reasonably priced fixed menu and treat dear mother-in-law to a nice meal. After dinner, we walked off the meal as we strolled over to the theatre. I know, she's nearly 80, how could we make her walk so far? But honestly, she wanted and appreciated the walk and the agreeable weather. Of course, my husband ran and got the car to pick us up afterward.

One of my favorite things about going to the theatre is the magical feeling I get of being whisked away to another time and place. This production of "Mary Poppins" did not disappoint. While I much prefer the movie version, the stage adaptation was mostly solid. There were a few spots in the story that could have been stronger, but overall, everything felt - magical. From the set design, to the costumes, to the performers, the timeless tale of a fantastic nanny and a family in need of connecting, was brought to life in such a way that the young, as well as the old all walked away with great big smiles on our faces. How could we not, with characters like Mrs. Corry (a memorable scene full of color and energy it makes your eyes burst and head spin all at once), moments where statues come to life, and people tap-dancing on the ceiling? Ashley Brown (Poppins) and Gavin Lee (Bert) are original cast members from the London production, and give impressive performances.

My husband, who'd never seen the movie but was familiar with the story, always hated Mary Poppins because he thought it was propaganda to trick kids into obeying. But I caught him chuckling and moving to the music throughout the play. And when Mary Poppins flew over our heads, I noticed both he and his mother waving to her. For us, the message of spending time with your family was definitely welcomed and received.

"Mary Poppins" completes its run at the Ahmanson Theatre this Sunday, February 7.


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