The iconic story and film is one that everyone knows. This production of My Fair Lady had big shoes to fill, to meet the expectations of an audience who, more than likely loved the film, the music and were anticipating that this would be as enjoyable.
This production exceeded my expectations, I knew it would probably be a winner with Opera Australia and John Frost AM presentings and Dame Julie Andrews directing. Julie Andrews was in the orginal stage preformance 60 years ago. This show is a celebration of the orginal stage production and tries to emulate the orginal.
As with all Australian productions of English shows and particularly one about elocution, you quickly pick up if the accents aren't quite right. Anna O'Byrne plays Eliza Doolittle and many said on the night that she looked and performed exactly like Julie Andrews, which is really the biggest compliment you could give Anna. She has a strong voice and she seemed more relaxed when she was singing. The opening scene did show a few first night nerves with her cockney accent wavering slightly, but that really is the only fault I could find in her magnificent performance.
All the actors brought their characters to life with gusto. Reg Livermore plays a very charismatic Mr Doolittle. The scene Take me to the Church on Time, is very funny. It was very well choreographed too by Christopher Gattelli.
Alex Jennings plays Professor Higgins and Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Colonel Pickering they made a great duo on stage and both actors seemed to effortlessly perform, which made for a very slick show. All the actors should be commended for their performances.
The real stand out for me however, were the costumes. When the Lights go up on the Ascott scene there was an audible wow from the audience and again when Eliza appears at the ball. The costumes were designed by Cecil Beaton, John David Ridge costume recreation and John Izaacs hair and wig design. The set was also very well constructed by Oliver Smith, so much so that you didn't notice they changed. There was no gap between scenes, it ran very smoothly. There was an imbalance in time between the two halves and I think this will more than likely be addressed.
All in all this was a fabulous show, highly entertaining and one that the whole family would enjoy.