Life's A Blog

REVIEW | ‘MARY POPPINS’

Mary Poppins Opens Cambridge’s Dunfield
Theatre With a Standing Ovation


by Trina Stewart
Published: March 9, 2013
Mark Ledbetter, Jayme Armstrong and Company in Mary Poppins and the Dunfield Theatre CambridgeMark Ledbetter (Bert), Jayme Armstrong (Mary Poppins) and the cast of Mary Poppins. Photo courtesy of Drayton Entertainment.
On Thursday, my husband and I attended the live theatrical performance of Mary Poppins, at the Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge Ontario. It was a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-tic experience.

After attending only Toronto performances and watching the structure of the Dunfield Theatre being built, I was anticipating the same sort of theatre experience of lush seating, a grand entrance, and ushers dressed in burgundy suits and top hat. The Dunfield Theatre, located on Grand Avenue in historic Galt, is much smaller than it appears. However, it is without a doubt a reflection of Cambridge and its architectural style. The seating was spacious and comfortable with plenty of leg room. The grand entrance was modern and provided ample space to access tickets, coat check, and the bar area.

“You are in for a treat,”, say Mayor Doug Craig prior to the curtain rising “This is a Toronto performance at half the price.”

Our mayor couldn’t be more correct in his statement as the cast and crew of Mary Poppins blew us away with stunning costumes, brilliantly choreographed dance routines, and music that brought back many a childhood memory.

“The iconic characters, memorable music, and timeless story are brought to life by an all-star cast of outstanding performers,” says Artistic Director Alex Mustakas. “The production speaks to all generations of theatregoers, and the reception by audiences has been fantastic.”

The role of Mary Poppins, played by Jayme Armstrong, was beyond ‘practically perfect’. Armstrong’s strong creative background and ability to relate with the children (and Bert) brought the true beauty of Mary Poppins to life. Armstrong was quick on her feet with a true understanding of her character as she flew through the air, Mary Poppin’s style, with dignity and grace.

His first dramatic appearance on a Drayton Entertainment Stage, Mark Ledbetter portrayed the charismatic and spontaneous chimney sweep, Bert, with precision and excellence. He was by far my favorite character with his witty one liners and comedic approach to his role.

Alas, there are the children in Mary Poppins! Over the course of the 8-week performance, Avery Kadish and Hadley Mustakas share the role of Jane Banks, while Trek Buccino and Jayden Greig will take turns as Michael Banks. The children were impossibly cute and their performances were flawless! The only flaw in the show is that they could have portrayed the children a little more ‘brattier’ in the beginning.

The performance of Mary Poppins is a great way to broaden your children’s appreciation for theatre and a unique March Break family activity. I encourage all of my readers, within the vicinity of Cambridge, Ontario, to take the time to enjoy our new theatre and the performance of Mary Poppins.

It’s truly an honour to have this fine establishment within walking distance of our home.