Weekend Herald

Spoon­ful of sugar timely medicine

- Theatre · Theatre & Ballet · Arts · West End theatre · Zoom Video Communications · Walt Disney · The Walt Disney Company · Ticketmaster · Mary Poppins · Phil Goff · P. L. Travers

It’s a prac­ti­cally per­fect re­lease from Covid re­stric­tions.

The feel- good mu­si­cal Mary Pop­pins will de­liver a spoon­ful of sugar to the­atre­go­ers for the first time in months.

The hit Broad­way show opens on Fri­day at The Civic, the his­toric Auck­land the­atre that hasn’t seen any­one tread the boards since its Covid- forced clo­sure in March.

Auck­land joined the rest of the coun­try on level 1 at 11.59pm on Wed­nes­day, lift­ing gath­er­ing re­stric­tions and al­low­ing the­atres to open.

That meant it was back to work for close to 150 peo­ple on Mary Pop­pins, in­clud­ing cast and crew, orches­tra, ush­ers, front of house and the­atre man­age­ment.

With no events since level 4 lock­down, staff at The Civic, Auck­land Town Hall and the Aotea Cen­tre were re­de­ployed to other Auck­land Live venues such as the Auck­land Zoo and the Art Gallery.

But as Mary Pop­pins runs in evenings and week­ends, the

28- strong all- Kiwi cast kept their day jobs.

Shaan Kloet who plays Mary Pop­pins works in ed­u­ca­tion, Caro­line Everitt who plays mother Winifred Banks works for her fam­ily’s cho­co­late shop, and lolly shop lady Mrs Corry is school teacher Maria An­gela Vaa.

G & T Pro­duc­tions codi­rec­tor Terry O’Con­nor said it was a tense wait for con­fir­ma­tion of alert level 1. The show was resched­uled twice be­cause of the pan­demic. “There has been a huge amount of un­cer­tainty for ev­ery­one in­volved in Mary Pop­pins so there was a sigh of re­lief when we knew we could fi­nally do it,” O’Con­nor said.

“These peo­ple have given their heart and soul and so to know it is fi­nally go­ing to hap­pen is quite emo­tional for ev­ery­one.” O’Con­nor’s com­pany lost $ 120,000 in March, when Mary Pop­pins was can­celled. An ad­di­tional $ 70,000 was spent on mar­ket­ing when re­stric­tions eased but then there were more post­pone­ments be­cause of the sec­ond wave of Covid.

The the­atre and events com­mu­nity has called for more con­ver­sa­tion with de­ci­sion- mak­ers about how shows could go on safely if alert lev­els rise again.

Auck­land Mayor Phil Goff vis­ited the cast and crew this week at The Civic to cel­e­brate the re­open­ing of the the­atre — the big­gest in the world to re­open since Covid shut Broad­way and The West End. There was a rush on sales just af­ter the alert level 1 an­nounce­ment.

De­spite two lock­downs and re­hearsals ham­pered by so­cial dis­tanc­ing, O’Con­nor said the show was go­ing to be world- class.

“We were ready to go in March and then Covid hit so we had re­hearsals via Zoom,” O’Con­nor said.

The pro­duc­tion is adapted from

PL Travers’ clas­sic sto­ries and the beloved Walt Dis­ney film about the mag­i­cal nanny who helps the dys­func­tional Banks fam­ily. It runs un­til Novem­ber 1.

Kirsty Wynn

Venue: The Civic, Auck­land Tick­ets: Tick­et­mas­ter, from $ 27.50 to the VIP $ 130 “Prac­ti­cally Per­fect” pack­age

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 ??  ?? Mary Pop­pins opens next Fri­day at the Civic The­atre in Auck­land. Inset: Lead ac­tress Shaan Kloet with the younger stars of the show this week, cel­e­brat­ing the the­atre’s re­open­ing af­ter its Covid- forced clo­sure in March.
Mary Pop­pins opens next Fri­day at the Civic The­atre in Auck­land. Inset: Lead ac­tress Shaan Kloet with the younger stars of the show this week, cel­e­brat­ing the the­atre’s re­open­ing af­ter its Covid- forced clo­sure in March.

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