“My Fair Lady” by Nottingham Operatic Society
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Nottingham Theatre Royal
“My Fair Lady” originally opened at the Lyttelton Theatre in March 2001, before it transferred to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in July 2000 where it ran for two years. The production went on to win a total of five Laurence Olivier Awards, including 'Outstanding Musical Production' and 'Best Theatre Choreographer', Matthew Bourne and in 2002 it also received The Hilton Award for Outstanding Musical Production. So no pressure then for the Nottingham Operatic Society then!!
Based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady.
The sets are spectacularly good, and easily moved in and out, the costumes are beautiful and the orchestra is sounding gorgeous led by Stephen Williams. With Tom Mowat in charge of the lighting, youMichael Donoghue made sure that you could hear every word spoken and sung.
The songs are recognised by all and I overheard one lady recount that she hadn’t realised that the songs that she knew were from this musical. “On The Street Where You Live”, “Get Me To The Church On Time”, “I Could Have Danced All Night”, “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly”, "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face", "With A Little Bit O' Luck", musical theatre classics.
Katie Taylor as Eliza Doolittle was the perfect choice and I fell in love with her straight away and her brilliant characterisation. Why has she been away for nine years? Hopefully Katie won't leave it that long before we see her again on stage and deprive us of that beautiful clear voice.
Simon Theobald as Professor Higgins, and let’s face it who else would be a match for Rex Harrison but Simon Theobald. Every role he takes on he makes it his and that is no different in Higgins. A very relaxed performance which always makes Simon a joy to watch.
Rob Harrison is Colonel Pickering and was almost unrecognisable in the role. Again another classy performance, which is what we've come to expect and what Rob always delivers.
Ian Pottage matches up to Stanley Holloway’s Mr Doolittle with an energetic performance of "With A Little Bit O Luck" and the excellent "Get Me To the Church On Time"
The song “On The Street Where You Live” is one of the biggest in the show and this is delivered by Drew Dennis. Unfortunately for Drew there was something happening in the audience which could have put
Linda Croston is a joy to watch as mother to the Professor, Mrs Higgins and I loved the motherly advice given to the Professor and her warmth shown to Eliza in the role. This was Linda's debut performance for Nottingham Operatic Society and a wonderful debut as well.
Janet Wootton was delightfully formidable Mrs Eynsford-Hill and Adele Lee as the house keeper Mrs Pearce.
A massive 29 strong ensemble were all amazingly good.
Choreographed and directed by Morven Harrison, what can I say? Two of the most stressful jobs in theatre which Morven has proven she is expert at with this wonderfully classy production. the choreography at times was almost dream like, just beautiful.
It’s been a very busy week for me theatre wise and knew that I’d be missing this but I am so pleased that I got the call by Nottingham Operatic Society to come on down to see this show, even on its’ last night, and I am so pleased that I did.
What a loverly way to end a week of brilliant local theatre productions. It just goes to show that “amateur” theatre groups are anything but amateurish and every show I’ve seen this week has been so polished and professionally produced that the professionals need to watch their backs. The musical theatre stars of tomorrow are here now!