Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady is quite possibly the Queen of all musicals, with its thoroughly memorable songs, great humour, nice touches of emotion and a classic storyline based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (some scenes almost word for word).
Director Barry Hill obviously has a great love for this musical of a young downtrodden Cockney flower girl who is taught to blossom into a duchess, and it shows in this faithful and delightful production. Hill makes sure that this iconic piece of more than fifty years old theatre has lost none of its charm. There is nothing new here, but nor should there be – one should not mess with perfection.
As chauvinistic, life-long confirmed bachelor Professor Henry Higgins, Brad Martin is excellent. His characterisation is incredibly strong throughout. Though he patters the songs (a device made famous by Rex Harrison in the same role), Martin displays a very promising high vocal quality.
Megan Doherty seems to have been born to play Eliza Doolittle, from her masterful murdering of the English tongue to her magnificently beautiful renderings of numbers such as I Could Have Danced All Night. She and Martin have just the right chemistry together and make each of their interactions highly entertaining.
David Rapkin is the perfect Pickering; Neville Langman is lovably roguish as Alfred Doolittle; whilst Robert Bell almost steals the show as the best Zoltan Karpathy yet. But it is Joy Bishop as Mrs Higgins who shows us what true class is and how lines should be delivered.
Carmel Vistoli’s choreography is well performed by all the cast, and while Jillian Gulliver’s orchestra is good, there were some flat notes from the brass and not having the orchestra use microphonoes does make them sound rather tinny.
My Fair Lady is a classic and, with The Met’s production, has been handled reverently and lovingly by all concerned. Great entertainment.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Your Twitter: @briangods
Venue: The Arts Theatre 53 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: 16 – 25 October 2014
Duration: 3 hours including interval
Tickets: $22.50 – $32.00
Bookings: Book online through The Met website or phone 8264 3225. Tickets also available through BASS online, phone 131 246