Poppins flies into town

Mary Poppins set to be a hit at The Civic

BRIDGET JONES
Last updated 05:00 14/10/2012

Rachel Wallace talks about Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
MARY POPPINS: Hit musical takes off in Auckland.

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Mary Poppins has blown in to New Zealand.

Based on the beloved books by PL Travers, and the 1964 movie starring Julie Andrews, the award-winning musical began a week of preview performances at Auckland's Civic Theatre last night.  

The New Zealand production comes direct from Australia, where it has played almost continuously since July 2010.

In Melbourne it played to 100 per cent sold out theatres for nine months straight. 

With four productions currently running on three continents, Mary Poppins is one of the biggest stage musical successes.

Worldwide, the show has grossed over $US679 million, and has been seen by almost 10 million people.  

Since first hitting the stage in 2004, the musical has won 44 major theatre awards around the world, including Tony and Olivier Awards.

The star of both the Broadway, and now Auckland, productions, Rachel Wallace said Mary is a powerful character who challenges her every night.

"No matter how good your show was yesterday, Mary is just always going to be better than you are. She's always going to be quicker, smarter and more efficient.  

"That natural challenge is built into going to work every day - and some days it's harder than others - but it's always wonderful to have the bar set so high that you can never get there, you can only try again, every day."

Wallace joins the cast that wowed Australia for the New Zealand run, which is expected to last more than two months.

She says even though the story was written in 1934, the story is still so relatable almost 80 years later.

"It's a bit more relevant to today, and I think that's part of what is so successful about the show.  

"It's about a family; the father's worried about losing his job and they are not necessarily communicating well together and through this new presence, they learn to be better to each other. And I think that's just timeless."

And while Wallace played Mary in New York for more than a year, she said the unique setting of the Civic Theatre is a real treat.

"The fact I get to fly up into the ceiling that has the sky and stars - that just doesn't happen anywhere else.  It's just unbelievably cool."

Mary Poppins is on now at The Civic Theatre

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