Tuesday 21 October 2008

"My Fair Lady"
a critique

On Sunday we went into the city to see My Fair Lady. Biggest mistake - driving to the city. We haven't done that for a long time - the traffic was horrendous and finding parking in all those one way streets was awful! Finally we found a place which charged a flat rate of $15 for the whole day; if it had been a weekday that would have been $52!! Think we'll stick to using the train from now on!

Anyway, My Fair Lady was wonderful, fantastic, stupendous! I'm so glad because the seats we had - Dress Circle Row B - were c.r.a.m.p.e.d. I sat with my knees jammed up against the seat in front of me for the entire 2 1/2 hours of the show. And I'm only of average height!

John Wood, of Blue Heelers and Gold Logie [2005] fame, played Alfred Doolittle - he was tremendous and can sing quite well [appropriately for the part] and dance a little. I was very impressed. This is the first time I have seen Mr Wood play anything other than the quintessential Aussie so I really enjoyed it!

Richard E. Grant was fabulous as Henry Higgins - not as pompous as Rex Harrison - he played it with a lighter, more mischievous, style. And flexible - you have to see him in action to believe what that long lean frame is capable of doing!

The part of Eliza Doolittle was played by Taryn Fiebig. This is the first time I've seen her - she played a different sort of Eliza to Audrey Hepburn - she was more feisty, altogether a better portrayal of the lower class flower girl. Ms Hepburn couldn't sing [the movie was dubbed by Marni Nixon] but Ms Fiebig has a beautiful clear voice. However, as often seems to be the case with classically trained singers, the singing of lighter music causes 'oversinging' - they just can't seem to relax into a more 'popular' style and let go of overly precise enunciation. That being said, it was a production by Opera Australia - so I shouldn't be surprised by operatic voices! The 'overkill' was true not only of Ms Fiebig's singing but also of her 'lady-like' speaking - exaggerated beyond the bounds of reality. Whereas Mrs Higgins sounded posh but natural, Ms Fiebig sounded posh and stilted. Still, perhaps it was the director's intention - changing from poor to aristocratic in six months would sound unnatural and stilted, I guess.

However, none of this was enough to mar a terrific performance. The costumes, the lighting, the sets, the music, the choreography - everything worked together to give a wonderful, harmonious, enjoyable experience and I'd certainly go again!


  1. I absolutely adore live theatre, it's so special, like they are doing it completely utterly for you. The only thing is the city driving, urrgh.

  2. Oh I just read that Richard E Grant was in it yesterday and I thought, God what I wouldn't give to see him.

    Lovely review!

  3. It sounds wonderful! I love a good live performance, and this one sounds perfect :) (except those seats...)

  4. Oh, the magic of a show! Glad the show was great so you forgot about your accomodations! Are you still singing today?!


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