photo: Joan Marcus
The two stars of Mary Poppins are Gavin Lee's legs in motion; if Al Hirschfeld was still alive he'd draw them as thin and as long as matchsticks. The show's highlight is Lee's second act tapdance up the wall and then upside down from the top of the proscenium arch, a moment of winning and cheerful stage magic in a show that is otherwise short on them. In this stage version, it's hard to decide which is more depressing: that the playfully stern but loving and magical nanny has been made haughty and no fun at all, with a voice as phoney as Mrs. Doubtfire's, or that she's been rendered nearly surperfluous to the story. They could have done away with her and called the second act Bert! and the first Disney's Scenes From A Marriage.