My Fair Lady is not only the best Musical that came out of the fifties, but is justifiably promoted as “The Musical of Musicals”. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, it has beautifully constructed dialogue, manners, wit, humour, and turn of the century social comment, all woven through the story of the “flar gell” metamorphosing into a Lady. The additional songs by Lerner and Loewe have made it an absolute favourite of audiences for over 50 years.
The opening night audience of this production, directed by Barry Hill, and showcasing some fine Adelaide amateur talent, clearly still loves it, and restrained themselves from singing along in the well-loved trade-mark songs.
The aforesaid songs were mostly very nicely sung: Megan Doherty as Eliza has a beautiful voice, and it would have been luverly to have heard some more. Her “Show me” in particular, was energetic and confident. She also acquitted herself nicely in the unravelling and her mastery of her relationship with Henry Higgins (Brad Martin) in the second half. David Rapkin was a convincing Colonel Pickering, and he and Anne Doherty (Mrs Pearce) both shone amongst this large cast. Three other actors were noteworthy: Joy Bishop played a delightfully pragmatic and charming Mrs Higgins; Robert Bell oozed charm from every pore as Zoltan Karpathy, and was energetic in a number of chorus roles; and Neville Langman made a welcome return to the stage with a fine portrayal of the redoubtable Alfred P Doolittle.
The orchestra (under the direction of Musical Director Jillian Gulliver) provided good support for both singers and scene changers (who incidentally did a very fine, slick job), although intonation was sometimes a little untidy. While there was some fine chorus work, the part singing was rather unbalanced and lacking blend. The choreography, however (by Carmel Vistoli), while traditional but fitting for this show, was well executed, and included three particular dancers (Ali Walsh, Raelene Berry and Rebecca Taylor), who could have danced all night.
The sets by Barry Hill and Leonie Osborn were excellent, and the Ascot Gavotte showed some beautiful Edwardian frocks, hats, parasols, and very posh poses.
My Fair Lady is a theatrical gem, and with a little bit o’ luck this production will get full houses, so book early!