On Wednesday, July 5th the Year 6 pupils presented their leavers’ show, “Mary Poppins”, to parents and friends. The evening began with a warm welcome by Mrs. Anwar, Assistant Head Teacher, who told the audience that the children had been working very hard to prepare for the performance, that they had a good dress rehearsal the previous day and she was confident that the cast would “blow you away” which they certainly did !
The musical tells the story of the Banks family who have to employ a new nanny for their children, Jane and Michael, as the previous nanny has left as she found the children difficult to manage. The children are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins who takes them on a series of fantastical adventures with her friend Bert, a cockney chimney sweep and pavement artist. She tells Mr Banks that she is “kind but extremely firm”.
Mr Banks, a bank officer, is a strict father who believes his family should be run efficiently like a bank which makes him a distant father and husband. Shaunav portrayed this character very realistically; his tone of voice and general demeanour together with his smart suit excellently conveyed the essence of this father. Genevieve who played Mrs Banks, a woman who is very involved with the suffragette movement of the period, much to the displeasure of her husband, also gave a very believable performance. Their children were very credibly portrayed by Charlotte and Daniel convincing the audience of their excitement for the idea of playing games and going on outings – just having fun, a new experience that their new nanny had introduced them to.
The various locations of the action were portrayed by using appropriate images on a large screen at the back of the stage which was very effective. The stagehands worked very professionally ensuring that furniture and props were moved efficiently so that the action was allowed to run smoothly. Throughout the evening those responsible for lighting and sound ensured that both were appropriate to accompany the locations that were being portrayed.
To play the character of Mary Poppins for a year 6 pupil could be quite a daunting prospect but that seemed not to be the case for Madeline. She portrayed the nuances of the character from strict nanny to someone who loves to have fun with confidence and obvious enjoyment which she was successfully able to convey to the audience which heightened their enjoyment. Two other pupils worthy of special mention are Maya as the Bird Woman who gave a beautiful rendition of “Feed the Birds” and Ryan who played Bert. His interpretation of his character – the demanding nature of his work as a chimney sweep contrasting with his enjoyment of being a pavement artist and his friendship with Mary Poppins, was very naturally conveyed.
For the audience part of their enjoyment was the familiarity of the many songs throughout the show such as Chim Chim Cher – ee, A Spoonful of Sugar, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Let’s Go Fly A Kite etc which had many tapping their feet to the music. The audience was able to feel involved with the characters and action as actors moved up and down the aisle and round the back of the hall. At the end of the performance even Mr Banks, who had eventually experienced a character change and became a better father due to Mary’s influence, joined everyone in dancing around flying a kite!
Every pupil involved put heart and soul into their acting, movement and singing which meant members of the audience left with a lovely warm feeling. Well done Year 6. You will be leaving Whiteheath with fond memories. Very best wishes for your futures at secondary school starting in September.