To those who know me well I don't think it's much of a secret that out of all the characters in my vast repertoire my hands down, number one absolute favourite is Mary Poppins.
My Mary Poppins parties are exactly the kind of birthday party I would have wanted as a child. I adored Mary and wanted to sing like her, talk like her and fly up banisters like her. It was devastating to discover that the third wasn't really an option but since Mary Poppins Returns came out I'm being told by quite a few lovely people that perhaps my first two wishes have indeed come true.
"Went to see Mary Poppins at the cinema last week and just heard your voice all the way through!"
So sweet! Thank you Ruth and then there was this lovely comment from Mum SJ
"Personally think Carla 'Susie Sparkles' would have been better casting than Emily Blunt though"
Gracious how kind! and O SJ if only! What a dream come true that would be! Personally I couldn't help but imagine myself in the role. Singing those fantastic new musical numbers, wearing those fabulous costumes of hers and delivering those iconic lines that lovingly threw us back to the original film.
"Close your mouth Michael, we are not a cod fish"
Being so attached to the original film I was thrilled that the cast exceeded my expectations. I was especially delighted to see Dick Van Dyke still dancing on the table and with that same mischievous twinkle in his eye at 90 years old and what a voice Angela Lansbury has at 91! Remarkable! Lin Manuel Miranda was out of his hip hop genius comfort zone but still managed to give an endearing performance and Emily Blunt of course was wonderful but if SJ and I had got our wish and I'd been cast in the role instead I would definitely have liked to have seen the Mary Poppins role performed a little differently.
Let's gloss over the fact that Blunt isn't anywhere near the vocal quality you'd expect from an actress playing Mary. It's disappointing that they didn't cast someone from a musical theatre background but that's not her fault. Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins was charming and charismatic but was it just me or was she a little raunchy at times? And perhaps a bit showy and pleased with herself? For me the intriguing unassuming nature of Mary Poppins can be summed up in the first film when Bert is making a big song and dance trying to show the children how to jump into the chalk picture and she scolds him by saying "O Bert. Why do you always complicate things that are really quite simple? Give me your hand. Don't slouch Michael" and then she just takes their hands, and to the children and the audiences surprise, she just effortlessly transports them into the picture.
The one second things are normal and you're getting told off the next second you're being given the treat of a lifetime is so deliciously exciting and the lack of fanfare and magic incantations gives you that impression that anything can be possible and adventure can come at any time when you least expect it. For me this was missing from Emily Blunt's portrayal as when she slid into that bathtub looking directly into camera and gleefully saying "Here we Go!" it was all a bit look what I did aren't I magic? Mary Poppins is arguably the most seemingly human but actually magical character in literary history and it seemed wrong to make her overtly aware and terribly proud of how marvellously magical she truly is.
Or maybe I'm just very jealous and Emily Blunt was a practically perfect Poppins in every way! That’s probably more accurate!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the film and especially Emily's interpretation of such an iconic character. But in the meantime if you're looking for an old school Mary Poppins to delight children at your party or event. Don't hesitate to get in touch!