A friend invited me to a production of Mary Poppins, at the Cutler Brothers Theatre in Deer Lodge. Expecting to be stiff (I have very long legs), sore (theatre seats can be uncomfortable) and possibly bored (what entertained me at five may not cut it today), I packed a bottle of Excedrin into my purse before journeying over the mountain from Helena to Deer Lodge. My worries subsided when I entered the theatre and was immediately struck with a sense of old world, ambience.
This sense of place and time was hastened by the age old ritual of listening to the orchestra warm up. The orchestra was one of the first clues that I was in for an experience beyond my expectations of a mildly entertaining play put on by a small town community theater group. They proved to be a genius ensemble of various instruments, played by local and symphony musicians. Their music evoked a panoply of emotions that took my heart on a journey through the streets of London in centuries past.
A Step in Time, one of my favorite scenes, filled the theatre with gypsy rhythms and counter tiempos, foot stomping, audience clapping, chimney sweepers and harmonization that, virtually, erupted in a crowd pleasing joy. At other times Celtic sounds embodied feelings of tenderness and the meaning of family, love, honorable work, and the difference between the value and worth of a six pence. The Cutler Brothers production of Mary Poppins is overwhelming. The unexpected creativity is magical as the audience is transported to an indescribable place. Picture Brigadoon, set in London, England, chock full of magical stage illusions that left me needing Mary Poppins’ admonition to young Michael Banks, “Close your mouth, you are not a codfish!” You may want to pack a few Kleenex, as tears may flow, not from sadness but from your heart exploding as you experience something magnificent with all your senses! Think of times when you had “a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”
That is the wave the play takes you on. (I was reminded of little Oksana Bayul, the 16 year old Ukranian orphan who skated her heart out in Lillihammer and won the Olympic Gold medal, or that feeling you get when you see the school marching band play their hearts out on the Fourth of July.) I am not affiliated with the theater in any way, but feel I must get this secret out. Treat yourself to an amazing journey and see Mary Poppins Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 p.m. Call: (406) 846-4096 for reservations, as the shows sell out quickly.