Review: A high-flying ‘Mary Poppins’ at Red Mountain Theatre

“Mary Poppins” stars Kristen Campbell and Alex Hayden Miller.

The show: “Mary Poppins,” at Red Mountain Theatre through June 30. The Disney favorite about everyone’s favorite flying nanny, based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the classic movie. It features classic songs plus some new ones for this production that opened on Broadway in 2006 (Helena’s Rebecca Luker won a Tony nomination for portraying Winifred in it). Directed by Roy Lightner; music direction by Anthony Smith; choreography by Sara Brians; costume design, wig & hair, makeup design by Kendra Weeks; scenic design by Kimberly Powers, lighting design by Michael Gottlieb; sound design by Patrick MacDonald.

The cast: Kristen Campbell (Mary Poppins), Alex Hayden Miller (Bert), Morgan Smith (Winifred Banks), Caleb Clark (George Banks), Banks Quinney and Jackson Page (Michael Banks), Eden Stephens and Emma Kate Morgan (Jane Banks), Chelsea Reynolds (Mrs. Brill), Will Bryant Vickers (Robertson Ay), Amy E. Johnson (Birdwoman/Miss Andrew) and many others.

The highlights: Campbell is spot-on as Mary Poppins, with both her singing and acting, as are Miller as Bert, Clark as George and Smith as Winifred.  Johnson’s versatility has never been more on display than here, singing the beautiful “Feed the Birds” as the Birdwoman and then bringing down the house as the “holy terror” Miss Andrew (kudos, too, to Weeks’ remarkable costume and wig design, especially for Miss Andrew). Page and Morgan (playing the two Banks children at the Saturday matinee) have remarkable comic timing for such young actors (as do Reynolds and Vickers in two adult roles).

The highlight of highlights: There are several great effects in this show, but none more so than Miller dancing on the walls and ceiling in the rousing and spectacular “Step in Time.” That and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” showcase Brians’ lively choreography.

The verdict: A soaring, talent-filled production for adults and children that is, like its title character, practically perfect in every way.

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