Sunday, 24 July 2011

I'm going to see our Patron Saint!

I did it.

I  booked tickets to see Mary Poppins, the stage musical up in Sydney, where I will see Mrs Banks in all her suffragette glory!

Or maybe not.

Apparently in the musical Mrs Banks if no longer a suffragette but a failing housewife. Mrs Banks is played by the lovely Marina Prior.

Here is Mrs. Banks finally reconciled to her role as a housewife, having starched and ironed the kiddies kite. 
Despite this disappointment,  it is my patriotic duty as an Australian to stand up and support all things Australian!

You did, of course, know that Mary Poppins was the creation of an Australian - yes?

P.L.Travers - the original creator and author of 8 Mary Poppins books - was born in Maryborough Qld in 1899, and at the age of 8 relocated with her family to Bowral, NSW.  She lived in Bowral until the age of 24 when she sailed away to England.

Although the first Mary Poppins book was not published until 1934, Bowral residents, Paul and Melissa McShane, are determined that the Mary Poppins character was dreamt up whilst Pamela was still living in Bowral.  They manage a campaign to make Bowral a literacy hotspot and to celebrate what they reckon is the 100th anniversary of the character's creation they continue to organise PR and fundraising events, such as this:

Photo by Clint Crawley Photography
yep - that's a lot of people, with open umbrellas, making a giant Mary P mosaic on the Don Bradman Oval last May. TV can explain it so much better:

or maybe not.

Anyway, spitspot - Australian link to famous story. Let's push on.

In 1944, Walt Disney got interested in the story. The Walt Disney Family Museum note that Walt pursued the rights to the Mary Poppins stories for 15 years. According to Caitlin Flanigan, (although I am unsure about her sources) Pamela was formidable and difficult during development and when the film came out she hated the Sherman Bros. songs, the animation and that Mary was turned into someone nice as opposed to the fearsome grumpy nanny of the books. She even complained “How could dear, demented Mrs. Banks, fussy, feminine and loving, become a suffragette?"  (EEK! The whole premise of this blog has been undermined!!)

All smiles for the camera, but they reportedly had an argument at the premiere over the animation and Walt famously announced: "Pamela, the ship has sailed" and walked away.
In keeping with the grumpy Australian tradition, there are some aspects about my upcoming attendance at the musical I am not completely happy about.

You see, if you wanna get a decent seat at the Capitol Theatre you have to go in pairs, because they only sell seats where you can see the stage in multiples of two. Here's a picture of the theatre and I have circled all the areas where you have to sit in pairs.

basically anywhere you would get a clear view of the stage
Unfortunately for me, I chose to make this an intergenerational family affair and wanted to purchase three tickets.  I was offered something about Row X.  Despite my pleadings, I was not going get seating in the prime areas. And at $150 + for a ticket I wasn't prepared to pay for an empty fourth seat (what a cheapskate am I?)

So we are sitting off to the side at a strange angle where we will get an impression of the show. The show we are going to see would be better represented by this advertising:

Impressionist - Monet - get it? Come on - throw me a bone ... I had to work this in somehow!
Pamela, in her last will and testament, gave Cameron Mackintosh permission to stage the musical. Under certain conditions. Including returning Mrs Banks to her housewifey roots. Disney gave him all the other songs. My contribution:  I'm gonna take my good will, imagination and binoculars.

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