I’m aware the best musicals (note: I’m no expert on them) have that one musical number that gets singled out and is generally considered the film’s weak point. Could this scene with Streep be the one most will agree was meh? Well, I know if you’re not particularly fond of Streep you’ll likely not care for it; mind you, you obviously don’t have to have anything against Streep to find it blah... I’m just sayin’. But Streep aside, I disagree with this sequence falling into that category.
Unnecessary? It was no more unnecessary than the scene where Jack climbed all the way up to Big Ben when Mary herself could have easily done it! (Which she later did). Added nothing? First of all, Poppins went to see Cousin Topsy for a reason. Second of all, we find out the person she went to is this peculiar lady with an interesting accent. And she happens to be played by Meryl Streep. Let’s be fair, had it been another actress in the role of Cousin Topsy, how could you not see a musical number coming up? I certainly did. Or do you believe the character was only in this film in the first place because it was written specifically for Merly Streep? Oooh.
In any event, I thought what that scene added was excitement and fascination just like the rest of the dancing and signing numbers. And again, Poppins, Jack and the kids went there for a purpose. You could argue this segment was underwhelming compared to the rest of the film, however by no means did I feel like it was shoehorned into the movie just to showcase Streep’s talent. It was fun and well-executed (that upside down set was glorious!).