Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi award-winning musical Mary Poppins will take to the stage of the Wales Millennium Centre today (December 14) and for the shows lead 26-year-old Zizi Strallen, her role is a magical journey that began in her childhood.
“Mary Poppins has been a big part of my life growing up,” Zizi tells Andy Howells, “My mum used to read the books to my little sister and I before we went to sleep at night and we watched the film over again.”
Zizi who comes from an acting family has worked on film and stage since the age of five, lending her voice to animations such as The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling while more recently appearing on stage in London’s West End in Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man.
Adapted from the stories by PL Travers and the Walt Disney film, the magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny, Mary Poppins is Zizi’s biggest theatrical role to date, but was also a role that her sister Scarlett had previously played on stage in the West-End. “Because my sister had played the role, I was a little hesitant,” says Zizi, “then I auditioned and went to see Cameron Mackintosh and he offered me the role.”
“Mary Poppins is something you can’t really turn down,” continues Zizi, “It comes with a lot of pressure because everyone has their idea of who Mary Poppins is. I have to look at it as how I see myself being Mary Poppins, I’ve just tried to enjoy every second of it and not let the pressure of being Mary Poppins get to me at all.”
Zizi has toured with the role for 17 months and Cardiff will be her last stop before moving onto a new project in the New Year in which she intends to develop a sitcom idea in the US. In the meantime, she is set to enjoy her last few weeks of Poppins magic with a show she has nothing but praise for. “There’s so many parts of the show that are incredible,” says Zizi, “Bert (played by Matt Lee) tap-dances on the ceiling and I fly over the audience. There’s also magic, special effects and beautiful performances by all the cast, there’s so much to come and see, it’s an incredible show!”
- Ticket prices range from £24 – £59. Age guidance 5+. For more information visit http://www.wmc.org.uk or call 029 2063 6464.