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Zizi Strallen on Mary Poppins: 'At 6.55pm every day my body naturally gets ready for the half hour call'

The performer talks about the new album release while the show's run remains halted

Zizi Strallen

Though a small number of venues are able to repen for socially distanced shows, many are still closed while the pandemic continues and social distancing measures are in place.

However, stagey fun doesn't stop just because some productions have had to halt! The West End iteration of Mary Poppins has recently unveiled a new cast album, which is being released next week.

We chat to star Zizi Strallen (who takes on the titular role) about lockdown and the album's release.

1) How does it feel having your performance as Mary immortalised for all time?
Having my performance as Mary on a cast album is actually a dream come true. I used to listen to Laura Michelle Kelly on the last album and I now can't believe it's me on the new one. It seems surreal. 

2) Is there a go-to track on the album that you love to listen to?
There are so many go to tracks on this album. Everytime I think I've found my favourite song, it changes. I think step in time will always get you in a good mood though so maybe that one. 

3) The Britain's Got Talent performance was nothing short of sensational – how did that all come together for you and the other members of the Mary Poppins team?
We all felt so lucky to be able to do BGT. It was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions for me. We of course had the challenge of having to be socially distanced etc.  I miss my job, and theatre in general, so much and the whole week of rehearsals and filming was a mixture of feeling so incredibly happy to be Mary again and trying not to cry.  It was truly an honour to do and the feedback was insanely good. 

4) How have you been filling your lockdown days?
I've been filling my lock down days with pretty much the same as everyone else I think. Home workouts and classes. I wasn't the best cook so I've been getting better at that. I've recently been looking into finding food banks around London I can take some food too. I'm also now doing a course in body massage which I'm really enjoying. 

5) What are your hopes for 2021 when things begin to open up again?
I hope that we can get theatre back to some kind of normality in 2021. I genuinely think the general public want it and need it. The messages I have received in the past, from people that have come to watch, have shown me the impact theatre can have on people's lives. I realise the safety of the country comes first but I really hope we can figure it out to come back soon. Anything can happen if you let it, as Mary would say. 

6) What are you missing most about not having audiences ready and in the room each night?
It sounds silly but at around 6.55pm every day my body naturally gets ready for the half hour call. I've been working professionally for 12 years now (and around 10 years as a child) and I'm so used to the feeling of performing and hearing the audience coming into the auditorium and I miss it so much as I'm sure so many other people do. It's our job, it's our living, it's what we constantly train to do, it's our whole life and the world needs it.

The Mary Poppins cast album will be released on Friday 6 November, and you can pre-order it now.