Burnley College's magical Disney musical was a Christmas treat

Burnley College presented a colourful merry-go-round of Christmas fun at its staging of a 1964 Disney classic which originally featured Hollywood superstars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

Monday, 3rd December 2018, 10:37 am
Updated Monday, 3rd December 2018, 12:15 pm
Performing arts students at Burnley College treated audiences to a dose of festive fun with a staging of 1964 Disney musical Mary Poppins Jr. (s)
Performing arts students at Burnley College treated audiences to a dose of festive fun with a staging of 1964 Disney musical Mary Poppins Jr. (s)

The talented students did not seem phased in the slightest by the famous shoes they had to fill during their production of the American feel-good musical Mary Poppins Jr last Saturday.

Their confidence shone on stage as they presented their own vibrant version of the show as part of the college's Winter Wonderland event, which delighted audiences young and old.

The musical follows the highs and lows of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, as they hunt for the perfect nanny for children Jane and Michael, while the father, George Banks, struggles to maintain their privileged lifestyle with his job in banking. Along comes the magical Mary Poppins, a cheerful but firm nanny, who takes the children on a series of fantastical adventures with former friend Bert.

She might be in her teens but leading lady Kyra Tillotson did not allow her confidence to be shaken by the fact that the original Mary Poppins was none other than megastar Julie Andrews, an English actress who is both a dame and an Oscar-winner. Kyra performed wonderfully in the starring role of Mary Poppins, showcasing both lovely vocals and natural stage presence.

Likewise, Gemma Blake gave a strong and confident performance as charming chimney sweeper Bert, who was played by American actor, singer and comedian Dick Van Dyke in the 1964 film.

Jack Roche and Lucy Whalley were an entertaining duo as Jane and Michael, skilfully bringing touches of comedy and mischief to the tale.

Also taking on leading roles were Mitchell Ratcliffe and Isabelle Craven as parents George and Winifred Banks. Mitchell did a fantastic job in his role as a burnt-out workaholic and strict head of the family while Isabelle proved to be a singing sensation with her stunning vocals.

The entire cast made for a harmonic and formidable ensemble. Congratulations must go to: Olivia Brown; Marley Cooper; Jack Cowell; Rebecca Drysdale; Jade Felipes; Lily Garnett; Ash Greenwood; Amelia Hambleton; Alicia Hill; Beatrice Hooper; Jessica Jeffrey; Chloe Lightfoot; Kayley Lonsdale; Georgia Parry; Ellie Pepper; Abbie Phillipson; Louis Price; Madison Redman; Emily Reynolds; Samina Syed; Courtney Washington; and Courtney Yates.

Well done also to Ruth Davies, Katie Lake and Poppy Olah in the creative direction team, as well as all the helpers backstage and in production, for knitting together fun and vibrant props, set design, costumes and choreography.

With a film sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, starring Hollywood actresses Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep hitting cinemas this Christmas, the college couldn't have picked a more relevant tale. With their fabulous production, the students proved exactly why this magical hit musical is loved throughout the generations.