An evening under the stars watching Mary Poppins at TUTS

An evening under the stars watching Mary Poppins at TUTS

Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) Mary Poppins: A family friendly outdoor summer event worth seeing

I have lived in Vancouver most of my life and too often I take local sites for granted. Sites like Malkin Bowl and the annual Theatre Under the Stars performances. After attending last night’s opening show of Mary Poppins, I regret waiting so long to attend this amazing local event. I brought my fourteen year old daughter along for the show, and what a show it was!

Unsure what to expect, we came armed with layers of clothing and bug spray, just in case. This was a very good idea! While the sun set and the temperature cooled, we were thankful for the bug spray and sweaters to put on during intermission.

Parking was surprisingly simple, we found a spot close by and walked over to the show. Upon entry there were several options for snacks and drinks at reasonable show prices ($3 hot chocolate, $4 for a bag of popcorn). They offered chair pillows to sit on and programs by donation and friendly volunteers were all around to help us find our seats. There were families with children and couples as well as groups of young adults all excited for the show. Pre-Show highlights included a bald eagle soaring above us to the amusement of the crowd while families laid out blankets on the grassy hill to prepare for the show.


Cast with Mary Poppins (Ranae Miller) and Bert (Victor Hunter) / Photo by: Tim Matheson

The performance started and quickly welcomed Mary Poppins complete with her magic bag. I was impressed by the talent of the young actors playing Jane and Michael Banks (Lola Marshall and Nolen Dubuc). The show had some clever approaches to favourite scenes such as the dancing penguins for “Jolly Holiday”, a beautiful ballet routine during “Feed the Birds” and energetic tap dancing during “Step in Time”. My daughter, who is a dancer herself, thoroughly enjoyed the integrated dance routines while I also admired the music and costumes that accompanied them. The young children around us were dancing and singing along to “Spoon Full of Sugar” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” while more experienced theatre fans hummed along to songs absent from the movie such as “Being Mrs. Banks” and “Brimstone and Treacle”.

Stand out performances included Ranae Miller as Mary Poppins, of course, and the very talented Victor Hunter as Bert. They both encompassed our favourite characters perfectly. I also loved the chemistry between Joseph Spitale as Robertson Ay and Sheryl Anne Wheaton as Mrs. Brill. They offered comedic relief as the house help and were very skilled at communicating subtle humour through facial expressions and non-verbals. Mrs. Corry, played by Andrea Pizarro, was an unexpected star. She runs the “Talk Shop” where the colourful ensemble completes one of my favourite performances of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Act I concludes with a flying Mary Poppins leaving the Banks’ home, but not for long.


Cast with Mary Poppins (Ranae Miller) and Bert (Victor Hunter) / Photo by: Tim Matheson

Act II commences after a perfect amount of time for a bathroom break (portable toilets on site with fast moving lines) and more snacks. We meet Miss Andrew, Mr. Banks’ childhood nanny played by Jaime Piercy. She is perfectly terrible and has a fantastic “nanny off” battle with Mary Poppins. Another scene not to miss is “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” which features a colourful display of dancing and props.


Of course the wonderful message of Mary Poppins is the realization by Mr. Banks of the importance of family and a new prioritization of them in his life. This progressive change is showcased well in Mary Poppins from the need for a nanny to his decisions at the bank and finally in the end when the family comes together.

Whether you have attended TUTS in the past or not, this is the show to see! It is perfect for the family, date night or a group outing. There are alcoholic beverages offered for those so inclined and with beautiful summer weather, there is nothing better than enjoying a show under the stars. Just bring that bug spray!

The show runs every other day between now and August 18, 2017. Tickets are available at



A view of the stage at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC

About Amanda Long

Amanda is an educator, event planner, and mother to a fourteen-year-old, currently finishing her master's degree in Educational Leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys road trips, camping, a variety of music, board games and spending time with friends.