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Brexit could easily be solved - by Mary Poppins

PUBLISHED: 16:35 17 January 2019

Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) in Mary Poppins Returns. Picture: Outnow/Walt Disney Pictures

Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) in Mary Poppins Returns. Picture: Outnow/Walt Disney Pictures

Outnow/Walt Disney Pictures

Nick Conrad says we need musicals at times like this and Theresa May would do better if she just used a spoonful of sugar to help the Brexit medicine go down

Oh…

A spoon full of musicals will help the gloom go down!

She might have saved the Banks family twice, but maybe it’s Britain that needs the magical Mary Poppins now.

I’m sure many of you have trooped along to the cinema to see the new film starring Emily Blunt.

Making a sequel to such a classic filmwas risky but Disney’s latest release is light-hearted and uplifting. It’s just the kind of escapist fun our country needs to lift the mood!

Our current national tribulations are not comparable to the adversity faced during the Second World War – however, are discovering how a big screen musical can bring a smile to the faces of millions?

A lush score, superb choreography, fantastic singing and an encapsulating narrative are the ingredients for a great adventure.

The viewer may be whisked above the skies of London by a woman with a flying umbrella, dance with an umpa-lumpa or be invited into a circus ring. Your current woes will fade away…for a few hours at least.

The re-emergence of the Hollywood musical has surprised many.

The consumer, until recently, has favoured gritty thrillers or Sci-Fi. Not now – they are lining up to cram into cinemas for a good old sing-along. What’s more they want to take the music home, increasing revenue potential and enticing new investors.

The phenomenally successful The Great Showman, tells the ‘contestable’ story of circus magnet P.T. Barnum… played by Norfolk’s own Wolverine (Hugh Jackman.) But it is the ‘numbers’ behind the showtune numbers making the executives howl with joy. Since its release last Christmas, the album has flogged almost 1.4 million copies in the UK alone!

Everyone seems to love it! In one posting on a film review website, the writer claimed that he’d rather ‘cauterize his retinas and mutilate his eardrums’ than watch most musicals. Obviously, the spontaneous sugary songs mixed with quattro formaggio levels of cheesiness isn’t his thing! But even this critic was won over by The Greatest Showman.

No doubt this new collective enthusiasm for this type of film is driving movie houses’ willingness to invest.

In truth the format has never really lost its appeal - on the stage at least.

Over the past decade, from the credit crunch to Brexit, with a good dose of political uncertainty thrown in, our desire to spend money on musicals should have waned. Quite the contrary. We want to escape.

As was the case in the Twenties and Thirties when George Gershwin and Cole Porter gave us many of the hit songs of the day, people just want to be taken out of themselves during a depression or difficult period.

In advance of the new musical, my family sat down to watch the original Mary Poppins on the television - a motion picture that’s practically perfect in every way- despite its lack of a credible storyline! Here the successor succeeds. The magical nanny reappears in 1935 (25 years after the first film’s time frame) to again aid the Banks family whose famous home faces repossession in ‘The Great Slump.’

It may not be a masterpiece, but as long as Mary Poppins and friends keep us smiling, it’s hard not to chomp down on these spoonfuls of cinematic sugar.

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