Review: A ‘Practically Perfect’ Mary Poppins at Rock Ridge

By Sydney Fisher,  Washington-Lee High School

It is often hard to face the realities of life, but in Rock Ridge High School’s excellent production of “Mary Poppins,” you don’t have to. Filled with singing, dancing, and magic, this show executed their performance and technical elements with professionalism and grace. “Mary Poppins” was originally published as a children’s book in 1934, made into a Disney movie in 1964, and then transposed into a musical in 2004. However, this classic story has remained a favorite throughout generations. Rock Ridge High School took this beloved story and did it justice.

The most important part of a cohesive show is a cast that demonstrates chemistry and stage presence. The dynamic performances of Jordan Green as Mrs. Banks and Parker Koch as Mr. Banks showed the depth of their relationship as parents and their backgrounds as people. Mary Poppins (Shreya Muju) was comfortable and elegant onstage as she led large group numbers such as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Jolly Holiday”. Even in smaller solo numbers such as “Spoonful of Sugar,” both her dancing and vocals remained strong. Collin Kilfeather as Bert sustained a vibrant personality and accent throughout the show, keeping the audience entertained from beginning to end. Featured roles such as Park Keeper (Andrew Otchere) stood out and left the audience laughing with his physical humor. Every character owned the stage, and the ensemble shined while not stealing attention from the lead actors. This show had a cast that worked together cohesively onstage and resulted in a wonderfu
l show.

This performance was highlighted with a variety of tech aspects that stole the show. Professional looking lights illuminated the stage in greens, pinks, purples, and blues. Enormous detailed sets stunned the audience as “17 Cherry Tree Lane” opened into a three-piece, two story home. Another great technical feat was creating a dresser for Mary Poppins to pull a variety of props out of her bag, including a coat rack, a mirror, and a painting. The set designers were great at creating a specific mood or ambiance for different scenes. For example, during calming night scenes on the roof, the dark sky was sprinkled with lit stars. This backdrop added to the setting and made the stage look like a beautiful night sky as Mary Poppins floated away. From the realistic sound effects to props, no detail went unnoticed. Mrs. Banks, a former actress, was reading a play during her scenes. Dog, bird, and thunderstorm sounds rang out loud and clear onstage. Even the costumes were cohesive and time period appropriate. All of the tech aspects for this show went above and beyond, especially for a high school production.

Among the acting, singing, and technical elements of this show, Rock Ridge High School did a brilliant job in “Mary Poppins.” One could even say that this production was “Practically Perfect” in every way.

[This review of the April 21 performance at Rock Ridge High School is part of a series published in a partnership between Loudoun Now and The Cappies, a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.]

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