Last night, I was sat in the Palace Theatre in Manchester watching the stage musical of Mary Poppins. Ten minutes in I was afraid I was going to hate it. The Disney film was a huge part of my childhood and I never even read the books, an oversight I now regret, for fear of that magic being spoiled or tainted. Going into the theatre I was asking myself all kinds of questions; what if my favourite songs have been changed or removed completely? What if Mary just wasn’t the same or the children were just not endearing? What if Bert had a really good cockney accent? What about the animated penguins?
It turns out that the magic of Mary Poppins is stronger and bigger than all of these things. All too quickly I began to enjoy the new, the adapted and the straight from the film bits and realised that not only was there much more to saving Mr Banks than I had known, but I’d also underestimated the extent to which Mary had affected my own life.
I could see, as Mary ascended up to the highest heights, the parallels in my own life. Flitting in and out of people’s lives as and when I felt needed, trying to fix people whether they wanted it or not whilst keeping a few big characters close by for fun times and adventures.
Most importantly though, I realised that the magic of Mary Poppins isn’t in the performance of an actor or the writing of an author or playwright. It’s not an inexplicably long word (no matter how atrocious) or even the simple joy of flying a kite. It’s an idea, a mantra that I’ve seemingly lived by, knowingly or not.
So 6 year old me is happy that the endless viewings of a Disney film were not in vain and the 35 year old me is happy that I can enjoy a different perspective on a beloved story. It’s time to go and read those books I denied myself before, after all, anything can happen if you let it!