Gala Performance Of Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe's
MY FAIR LADY
Starring television and theatre stalwart
Christopher Cazenove as Professor Henry Higgins and former Emmerdale
actress and, now, Classical chart star Amy Nuttall as Eliza Doolittle,
this production simply zings along at a pace that is spellbinding.
Amy Nuttall's renditions of Wouldn't
It Be Loverly and I Could Have Danced All Night were breathtaking
and her transformation from loveable "Cockerney Sparrer" to
"Pretty Woman Princess" is made all the more sensational by
the gowns she's given to wear.
Cazenove is, quite simply, Professor
Higgins and carries on the role where Rex Harrison - himself a native
of Liverpool - left off. His ability to keep up with Loewe's dextrous
lyrics, whilst at the same time maintaining a stage persona of the stereotypical
chauvenist, deserves special mention. Why Can't The English (Learn
How To Speak) is as fresh today as it was when first performed and
I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face is delivered with poignancy
Gareth Hale in the role of Eliza's worthless
father, Alfred P. Doolittle, shows that there is more than just comedy
to his make up. He can sing and dance with the best of them, as his
working of With A Little Bit Of Luck and Get Me To The Church
demonstrates, whereas Stephen Moore, as Higgins's side-kick, Pickering,
fills the role of Wilfred Hyde-Whyte with just the right amount of "Nigel-Bruce-as-Watson"
pomposity to be endearing.
Judith Paris as the matriarchal Mrs.
Higgins and Romy Baskerville, as Higgins's housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce,
deliver brilliant performances that are the bedrock of motherly correctness
without which the absurdity of Higgins would collapse and Stephen Carlile
as the-upper-class-twit-besotted-with-transformed-Eliza, Freddy Eynsford-Hill,
makes the audience understand how On The Street Where On The Street
Where You Live has remained such a timeless classic.
Quibbles? The first two songs were somewhat
drowned out by the orchestra and some of the scenes, perhaps, were a
little over-played, but these are minor faults and hardly detracted
from the entertainment on offer, whilst the sets - especially that of
Higgins's study - are mesmerising.
At the end of the evening, a Birthday
cake was wheeled out and Alan Jay Lerner's wife, Liz Roberts, who herself
appeared as Eliza at The Empire prior to the show beginning a record-breaking
three year stint in the West End in 1978, summed up the evening perfectly:
"Not only is My Fair Lady a show the twentieth century,"
she said, "but also of the twenty-first."
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from the Liverpool Empire Theatre?
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Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit. - Chris High 2003.
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