Mary Poppins: West End Star to give Hunt-Ballard a well earned break

Scarlett can confirm that English actress Scarlett Strallen will take over the role of Mary in the smash hit musical Mary Poppins for 8 weeks, commencing tomorrow.

The West End star, who has played Mary Poppins in the musical’s London and New York productions, will relieve Australian Mary (Verity Hunt-Ballard) from from Wednesday, October 5 to Sunday November 27 – allowing Verity to take a break before she begins the Brisbane season of Mary Poppins in January.

Scarlett, who comes from a distinguished theatrical family, will now have the unique distinction of appearing in productions of Mary Poppins in three countries.

‘It’s a thrill to be playing Mary in Sydney. Every performance when I fly over the audience I feel as if it’s the last time,’ Scarlett says, ‘but Mary always returns, doesn’t she? It’s such an emotional moment for me that I weep a little at the end of every show. I’m excited to be part of the Aussie production with its wonderful cast.’

Will she find Australia and Australian audiences something of a culture shock?

‘Not really. I grew up with Neighbours – Toadie was my favourite – so the accent and the Aussie way of life is very familiar’, she said.

‘And I have another – more tenuous and bizarre – link to Australia. My Godfather, Christopher Biggins [the British actor and media personality] won the game show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here a few years ago when it was set in Australia at places called Croc Creek and Snake Rock. A long way from Ramsay St.’

Scarlett is one of four daughters of show business parents. Her aunt is Bonnie Langford, the noted West End and Broadway performer and her sister, Summer Strallen, played the role of Meg Giry in the London production of Love Never Dies.

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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