The Arts

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

My Fair Lady
Shaw Festival
Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Directed by Molly Smith
Performed by Deborah Hay, Benedict Campbell, Neil Barclay, Patrick Galligan, Sharry Flett, Patty Jamieson and Mark Uhre
Shaw Festival Theatre
Apr. 13 to Oct. 30, 2011

I always appreciate listening to old material with fresh ears. With My Fair Lady, I not only know all the lyrics off by heart, but also the dialogue. Nonetheless, I find the Shaw Festival’s production to be absolutely refreshing.

First of all, the roles are all played by actors which gives an edge. Benedict Campbell as Prof. Higgins is an absolute brat. Deborah Hay as Eliza is truly raw and earthy, and you feel that even underneath her ladylike guise. Neil Barclay as Doolittle is a sly conniver. Patrick Galligan as Col. Pickering has youth and vitality.

Director Molly Smith has mined the well-trodden script for fresh dynamics. The characters are very realistic, rather than ciphers. Daniel Pelzig has provided rousing choreography. Paul Sportelli conducts with gusto. Judith Bowden’s costumes are a riot of colour.

My one dislike is Ken MacDonald’s bird cage set. It carries one single metaphor too far.

My Fair Lady continues at the Shaw Festival Theatre until Oct. 30.

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