Reviewed by Trish Francis
Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, My Fair Lady is a charming musical depicting the classic story of a Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, taught to speak and act like a lady by the chauvinistic Professor Henry Higgins. In South Coast Choral and Arts Society's production, Director Cathy Venning and Assistant Director Susie Lush have remained faithful to the original and delivered an enchanting evening of entertainment.
Rebecca Tymmons is a delightful Eliza, with strong characterisation throughout her transformation and great handling of both the Cockney accent and the more refined ‘ladylike’ speech. With a fine singing voice and relaxed acting style her portrayal was magnificent. As Professor Higgins, Wayne Scotten was a believable counterpart as the uncaring, arrogant Professor of phonetics, with just the right hint of vulnerability. He ‘speech sang’ his numbers replicating the Rex Harrison version and on the whole coped well although a few song lines were missed on opening night, most likely from nerves.
As is often the case in this musical the role of Alfred Doolittle steals the show and Mick McKinlay’s performance is no exception here. With great comic timing and enthusiastic renditions of knees-up numbers such as “With a Little Bit of Luck” and “Get Me to the Church on Time” he was a crowd favourite.Other notable performances came from Rick Morriss as the affable Colonel Pickering and Julie Kelly as a warm and witty Mrs Higgins.
Musical Director Elizabeth Eland keeps orchestration tight and has coached the ensemble well, ensuring group numbers (sadly lacking in this musical) included impressive harmonies. I thoroughly enjoyed them, well done to all. A minor criticism is the choreography which was a little ‘samey’, although one appreciates the difficulty of teaching steps to a large cast of mainly non dancers.
Mention must be made of the costumes by Josie Catt and her team, particularly during the Ascot scene where the audience burst into spontaneous applause in appreciation of the elaborate black and white dresses and hats. It’s worth the drive from Adelaide for this scene alone!
Whether near or far make sure you “move your bloomin’ arse” and see this fine production!
Rebbecca Tymmons as Eliza Doolittle