PATRICK MARMION reviews the first night of the new West End production of Mary ...

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Mary Poppins is back in the West End – and she’s flying.

In fact, Zizi Strallen is so brilliant as Ms Poppins that a spoonful of superlatives won’t quite cover it, and I found myself thinking of stronger language. 

So to spare everyone’s blushes, let’s just say I’m with Mary’s young charge Michael when he says of his magic nanny: ‘She may be tricky but she’s bloody good!’

The trouble with Michael’s verdict is that it doesn’t tell you just how bloody good Strallen is.

Zizi Strallen, pictured, is so brilliant as Mary Poppins that a spoonful of superlatives won¿t quite cover it, writes Patrick Marmion after press night on Wednesday

Zizi Strallen, pictured, is so brilliant as Mary Poppins that a spoonful of superlatives won’t quite cover it, writes Patrick Marmion after press night on Wednesday

Following her big sister Scarlett in the role, Zizi played Mary on a national tour and materialises again, as if from thin air, in fitted coat, black hat and shoes fanned into first position. And her feet never seem to touch the ground.

Poker faced, with finishing-school deportment and hands resting lightly on avian-topped brolly, she casts her spell with cool panache. Terse, tender and very otherworldly, she’s a Mary who keeps on giving – right through to her final flypast.

Strallen has a charming voice, too: dispatching songs with elegance and quaintly old-fashioned vibrato. She makes light work of clearing the kitchen while singing A Spoonful Of Sugar. 

She has a blast running the raucous alphabet reel of Su-percalifragilisticexpialidocious. And she stomps tunefully over the rooftops for the oompah of Chim Chim Cher-ee.

Strallen has a charming voice: dispatching songs with elegance and quaintly old-fashioned vibrato. She makes light work of clearing the kitchen while singing A Spoonful Of Sugar

Strallen has a charming voice: dispatching songs with elegance and quaintly old-fashioned vibrato. She makes light work of clearing the kitchen while singing A Spoonful Of Sugar

But the other outstanding part of Sir Richard Eyre’s still slick production is the mesmerising choreography by Stephen Mear and Matthew Bourne. 

Their magic seems to extend beyond the big routines into the

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