IMT’s premiere performance

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A VERY strong wind will blow Mary Poppins on to the Civic Theatre stage next week.
The musical, based on the stories of P L Travers and the Walt Disney film, is being performed by Invercargill Musical Theatre (IMT) from July 14-23.
President Mark Holmes and vicepresident Bernadette Gourley said they were both very proud of how the production was coming along.
Stephen Robertson had returned to direct and choreograph the show, with musical direction by Michael Buick.
National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art graduate Emily Burns, from Queenstown, will play the practically-perfect nanny, with Wellington-based actor, musician and dancer Nick Purdie (Bert) joining a large cast of Southland performers including Nathan Munn (Mr Banks), Libby Fraser (Mrs Banks), Michelle Lange (bird woman) and Maria Tipuna-Shore (Mrs Corrie).
With many hands helping out behind the scenes there were close to 100 people involved in the whole production, Gourley said.
‘‘It’s just astounding, and it never ceases to amaze me the number of hours people are prepared to put in just for the pure love of it,’’ Holmes added.
Gourley said it was very much an all-ages show which children and adults alike would enjoy. More than 4000 tickets had been sold so far, with an extra matinee performance added to the schedule.
While last year’s production Phantom of the Opera was a huge achievement, this show was a step up in every aspect, she said.
The quality of the costumes, the set, the electronic projections and the props were outstanding, she said. There was also a 16-piece orchestra.
‘‘You’ll see effects in this show which have never been used before,’’ Holmes said.
The storyline was a mixture of both the book series and the film, they said.
‘‘But the general Mary Poppins story is there and the magic is there,’’ Holmes said.
Like Phantom of the Opera the show is being produced by a consortium of musical theatre companies throughout the country.
Due to the closure of Hamilton’s Founders Theatre earlier this year because of health and safety concerns, the IMT production is the New Zealand premiere.
Christchurch’s Court Theatre performed Mary Poppins on a smaller scale, but this production had never been done before, Gourley said.
Because of that, many people were travelling from out of town to see the show here, she said.
‘‘It’s great for Invercargill.’’
Staging the premiere meant IMT would be setting the bar for the production.
‘‘We do have to set the bar and set the bar high,’’ Holmes said.
‘‘Invercargill’s always punched above its weight… I personally believe we’re one of the best in the country. We’re just so lucky we have the talent pool to draw from.’’
Í Tickets available from TicketDirect and the Invercargill City Council booking office.

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