A practically perfect show designed for all the family

One of the West End’s best known producers has teamed up with the creator of Downton Abbey for a new production of Mary Poppins.

Cameron Mackintosh produces the show while Julian Fellowes has written the play and they bring the nanny to The Curve in Leicester from Monday, October 12, to Saturday, October 24.

The magical story of a nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane is well loved, and West End actress Zizi Strallen plays Mary Poppins.

We caught up with the actress and asked her about the role.

Q: How does it feel to be part of such an iconic show?

ZS: It feels truly amazing to be part of this show. It is so beautiful and magical and has everything for everyone. Both children and adults will love it, all for different reasons. It touches everyone in such different ways.

Q: What attracted you to the role of Mary?

ZS: She is magical and everyone loves the thought of being magical don’t they?! I grew up watching the film and reading the stories. Our parents would always read the stories to my sisters and I before we went to sleep. It was a big part of my childhood. I couldn’t ever turn this part down!

Q: Does the film / story hold fond childhood memories for you?

ZS: A lot of childhood memories for me, watching the film with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and how wonderful they were. In fact, I could recite the whole film I watched it so much! It always makes me think of happy times.

Q: Although the story is set in Edwardian times do you think it is still relevant to today’s children?

ZS: Absolutely, I think it is still very relevant today. To children now and everyone actually. The same values and the same lessons are what every child needs to learn. Every single part of the story is a lesson to the children on how to appreciate your parents and understand when things go a bit wrong. How not to be difficult and almost help the parents where they can. To think before they speak and to appreciate your life.

Q: Zizi, you’ve been at Curve a few times now, as Lana in The Car Man, Chicago and Hairspray - how does it feel to be returning to Leicester? Do you know the city well now?

ZS: I love the Curve, it really is like a second home to me. I was there for Chicago and Hairspray, so a good 6 months. Then I came back as Lana in The Car Man. I am so happy we are starting the show there. I’m truly looking forward to feeling at home whilst we tech and open the show.

Q: What can audiences expect from Mary Poppins at Curve?

ZS: They will LOVE it! It’s a show that is brilliant for every single member of the family. Mr Banks’ journey is one every father and parent can relate to it. It is all about how a family comes together and loves each other. Audiences of all ages will appreciate this story.

Q: What part of the show are you most excited about?

ZS: The flying is pretty special and I’m very excited about it, but also a little nervous. I’ve been trying it out and the audiences are in for a real treat!

Q:Do you have a favourite song from the show?

ZS: My favourite song in this show is definitely Feed the Birds. I love all of the songs, but Feed the Birds has such a beautiful tune. I hope I do it justice!

Q: Finally, can you tell us any secrets about the show – we hear it’s full of magic!

ZS: I can’t reveal any secrets about anything!! You’ll have to come and see it. I can tell you that it is amazing to look at and both children and adults will definitely be amazed. It truly is magical.

We caught up with everyone’s favourite Chimney Sweep Bert, played by award winning actor Matt Lee, to find out more about the show.

Q: How does it feel to be part of such an iconic show?

ML: I am so thrilled to be a part of this brilliant production. It has already been seen by millions of people around the world and is truly world class. It appeals to such a diverse demographic.

Q: What attracted you to the role of Bert?

ML: Very rarely does a role such as Bert come along for an actor that showcases everything they have trained for in their career. Bert is a cheeky, all singing, all dancing chap who even gets to do a show stopping moment during ‘Step In Time’! How could you pass that up?

Q: Does the Film hold fond childhood memories for you?

ML: As a child I used to put Mary Poppins on after watching any sort of scary movie to calm myself down so I could get to sleep!

Q: Although the story is set in Edwardian times do you think it is still relevant to todays children?

ML: Absolutely. The lessons Mary teaches the children during the show are still so relevant today. Things like not taking your parents for granted and not judging a book by its cover will always be relevant.

Q: What can audiences expect from Mary Poppins at Curve?

ML: A lot of magic, amazing dancing, some beautiful flying, a wonderful set, hundreds of costumes and the classic songs everyone knows, as well as some new ones.

Q: What part of the show are you most excited about?

ML: I really love Step in Time. Mostly because of the brilliant dancing and my surprise moment!

Q: Do you have a favourite song in the show?

ML: There are so many. Jolly Holliday, Feed the Birds and of course Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Tickets for the show cost between £15 and £55 and can be booked by calling the box office on 0116 242 3595 or alternatively by visiting www.curveonline.co.uk.