It's truly loverly to have a beautiful production of My Fair Lady back on stage, as Lerner and Loewe's theatrically emblematic musical has made a revival at the Coliseum.
While out selling blossoms in Covent Garden, Eliza- lacking wealth, but full of life- clashes with linguists, Colonel Pickering (Malcolm Sinclair) and Professor Henry Higgins (Harry Haddon-Paton). The latter begins with one of several of his amusing tracks to complain, 'Why Can't the English?', starting the journey of his character. Following this, the renowned 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly' is met with the first of many spells of thoughtful choreography, conducted by Christopher Gattelli, and in this case include brooms and a vendor cart.
Paying a visit to the gentlemen, Eliza proposes an idea to alter her dialect. Inquisitive with regards to such an offer, she is subjected to strict learning regimes to test if a mere flower girl could become a proper lady. Maureen Beattie does a fantastic job at portraying the often flustered housekeeper, Mrs Pearce. Here, at Higgins' abode, is where the audience initially see the main stunning set by Michael Yeargan, which harbours meticulous attention to detail. The creative use of a rotating stage brings wonder and is used with great effect to showcase the ability to transition smoothly between rooms.
Once deemed well-spoken enough, Eliza takes a trip to Ascot races, whereby Vanessa Redgrave takes to the stage as Mrs Higgins, with the scene beginning in silhouette, which looks very appealing. Later on, Miss Doolittle appears at a lavish ball: another example of the Edwardian taste being reflected well in both the sets and costume.
Amara Okereke is unquestionably perfect as Eliza Doolittle. The infectious personality of the character shines through as she brings a fresh dynamic to the role, with her charm, feistiness and passion. Vocally and beyond, Amara is exceptional during every notion she is on stage. Additionally, Alfred P. Doolittle (father of Eliza), is played by Stephen K Amos, who does a stellar job of presenting his character with vibrancy, notably in his two songs, 'With a Little Bit of Luck', and 'Get Me to the Church on Time', often parading around and creating a stir.
My Fair Lady, directed by Bartlett Sher, is on the long side, but worth every minute. This huge staging will leave you in awe, and the score is one that could be deemed an element in the backbone of musical theatre.