RGS' production of Mary Poppins stars Kalani Williams as Mary and Patrick Robertson as Bert (centre)
RGS' production of Mary Poppins stars Kalani Williams as Mary and Patrick Robertson as Bert (centre)

The magic of Mary Poppins never fades, no matter the wait

This is about the tenth musical Michael Robertson has directed for The Rockhampton Grammar Primary School but it’s taken him the longest to get to stage.

Mary Poppins Jr was cast in March last year, but rehearsals were delayed until Term Two as the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19 forced the Pilbeam Theatre into lockdown.

It was then scheduled for September 2020, then again in October.

“It’s the Show That Never Ends,” he said.

“Mary’s supposed to come in and leave but she hasn’t left for a year now.”

It’s a credit to the cast, most of them only 10 and 11 years old, that their motivation hasn’t waned while they were waiting.

For leads Kalani Williams (Mary Poppins) and Patrick Robertson (Bert), they’ve made the transition to high school for their studies, but remained in character nevertheless.

“Bert’s a really energetic character to play,” said Patrick.

“The hardest thing is the quick costume changes between numbers.”

Kalani’s a seasoned performer, with Beauty and the Beast and Evita under her belt, but she’s excited to play one of theatre’s most iconic roles.

“There’s so much magic in this show; I can’t wait for the audience to see what we’ve done,” she said.

Mr Robertson said the junior production has been amended a little to cater for the students’ singing range and characterisation.

But with top-notch set design, lighting and a big chorus dance number, his crew is aiming for a big, Broadway feel.

“This cast has worked the hardest out of any I’ve ever known,” he said.

“Not just because of the Covid situation but because every production of Mary Poppins has to bring its own magic touches.

“I want the cast to experience the magic as much as the audience, because they missed out on a year in the theatre.”

The Rockhampton City Council allowed the school students to take over the stage from the Mamma Mia rehearsals for a week, which is a sign of the busy year ahead.

Mary Poppins Jr takes to the stage this Friday and Saturday, then RGS’ senior production of Singing in the Rain will prove a ‘splash’ in August.

Two weeks after that, the RGS Dance Academy will have its own spectacle.

That’s three opportunities for people to enjoy the talent of RGS students in the Pilbeam Theatre this year.

As its designed for family audiences, Mary Poppins Jr is a 90-minute show with no intermission, so you can have the kids in bed early.



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