My Fair Lady (2003)

My Fair Lady (2003) Poster

Production Details

Synopsis

The first encounter between Professor Henry Higgins, the brilliant, crotchety, middle-aged bachelor who is England’s leading phoneticist, and Eliza Doolittle, the little cockney gutter sparrow, takes place near the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, late on a cold March night. Eliza is selling violets. Higgins is out on his endless quest for new dialects of London’s speech. A handsome young aristocrat, Freddy Eynsford-Hill, takes no notice of her when she tries to sell him violets. Colonel Pickering, also a linguistic expert, comes to stay with Higgins at his flat. Eliza’s squalid father, Alfred Doolittle, outlines his optimistic if somewhat unorthodox philosophy of life in the rousing With a Little Bit of Luck.

Henry Higgins then goes on to transform 19th-century Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a beautiful, swan-like lady – with many great musical numbers along the way!

Cast

Principals
Chorus of Cockneys, Opera-goers, Embassy guests and Race-goers

Alan Ball, Ruth Ball, Alison Banks, Caroline Banks, Denise Beckford, Jackie Billinge, Liz Cairns, Rosemary Cleasby, Bryony Cooper, Doreen Cothay, John Cuckson, Harry Dallard, Anthony Dixon, Janet Dixon, Christine Dobbie, Anouska Drion, Helen Egglestone, Frances Ellard, Allison Feasey, David Fiddaman, Catherine Finn, Becky Fisher, Ashley Frieze, Karen Gallagher, Jonathan Gilderoy, Margret Graham, Barbara Gray, Rosie Hannis, Emili Harmon, Tony Harries, Peter Hook, Mollie Hughes, Dennis Lavin, June Lavin, Catherine Lawes, Heather McLoughlin, Sherida Murphey, Robin Murray, David O’Donnell, Sue Robinson, Laura Rogers-Duerden, Ellen Russell, Christopher Smith, Derek Smith, Jenni Sneddon, Jamie Stirling, Jonathan Taylor, Bev Thompson, Deirdre Tyrrell, Pat Walker, Katy Watson, Helen Wigham, Hannah Wilson, Lucy Wright

Programme

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Reviews

Sarah Foster – Northern Echo – July 2003

This heart-warming tale of a flower girl who, under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins, rises through the social ranks to be mistaken for an aristocrat, cannot fail to appeal. It was probably partly due to this that its first night at the Gala was a sell-out. But the interest was also undoubtedly as a result of Durham Amateur Operatic Society’s reputation for quality.

Having already performed three times at the theatre, the society has become one of its biggest draws, and audiences will not be disappointed with the latest offering.

My Fair Lady sees the return of two of the society’s stalwarts –  Delia McNally and Anthony Smith, in the leading roles of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins.

Watching McNally perform is a delight — whether as Cockney down-and-out or belle of the ball, she manages utterly to charm the audience, slipping from one character to the other with ease. Her stage presence and versatility make you wonder why she doesn’t make a career of acting. She is ably supported by a strong cast, including Smith as a suitably pigheaded Higgins and Laurence Scott as the gentlemanly Colonel Pickering.

Olly Burton injects energy and humour into his role as Eliza’s father, contributing some great comic moments, and the music, costumes and set are of the society’s usual high standard.

Two little dogs provoked much amusement in their cameo roles as Mrs Higgins’s pets, and despite the show’s length, the audience was with it all the way.


Northern NODA News

My Fair Lady is a very demanding show, calling for strong acting from the two main principals, and especially good singing from Eliza. Delia McNally was the obvious choice for this role, singing all her songs with ease, and coping convincingly with the transition from cockney flower girl to lady. 

Anthony Smith gave a relaxed interpretation of the self-assured Professor Higgins, and he had a wonderful foil in Laurence Scott, who played the very correct Colonel Pickering.

I particularly enjoyed the playing of Helen Harries in the lovely cameo role of Mrs. Pierce. Valenda Taylor was ideally cast as Mrs. Higgins with her perfect style and diction.

Olly Burton played Alfred Doolittle with robust panache, and Graeme Walton, as Freddy, gave us a lovely “On The Street Where You Live”. There were some lively, boisterous cockney numbers, and an impressive Ascot Gavotte.

Thank you for a wonderful evening.