My Fair Lady

Date 2nd November 2018
Society Nottingham West Music & Drama Society
Venue Kimberley School Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Graham Lambert
Musical Director John Wilson
Choreographers Jane Clark, Merle Harrison & Emma Heydon

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Author: MartinHoltom

My Fair Lady is one of the classic musicals from the 20th century and is based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.  The original Broadway and London shows starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews and in 1956 set the record for the longest run of any show on Broadway up to that time and has been called by some critics "the perfect musical".  NOWMADS in their production this week certainly delivered an excellent interpretation of this classic musical making the most of the school theatre venue and delivered both impressive acting performances but also a very full, well balanced sound.

Any production of My Fair Lady centres on the believability of the transformation of Eliza Doolittle and her relationship with Henry Higgins from being seen as “an experiment” in phonic development to a fully fledged “Lady” who has outgrown her previous life and family. Both Laura Collins and Martin Belcher certainly rose to the challenge with great skill and attention to detail.  

Martin managed to portray both the frustration with the development of Eliza and also the vulnerability of a man who has never really had to understand other human beings. Laura captured both the naivety of a girl being thrown into a completely new world and also the inner steel of a woman who knows she wants to craft a better life for herself that being just a flower seller.

Steve Clarke provided a great foil to Higgins as Colonel Pickering without falling for the temptation of playing him as a buffoon and managed therefore to win the sympathy of the audience as the key supporting character on Eliza’s development.   Danny De Martino shone as Alfred P Doolittle being both larger than life but not over the top and provided a very believable father who both celebrates his life as ‘undeserving poor’ and also the money that comes to him as a unique philosopher.  His gusto in delivery of ‘I’m getting married” was one of the many musical highlights of the evening.

The other supporting principals and ensemble provided just the right energy to the performance and worked together exceptionally well with great clarity of diction both in lib and also in all the musical numbers.   The use of space on the stage was particularly impressive with a large cast, limited space and very dynamic choreography.  Jane, Merle and Emma should be very proud of what they created and the energy that the cast put into the evening.  

Graham had obviously spent a considerable amount of effort and energy in the rehearsal period for this production as all principles had clear and unique characters which worked very well as and Ensemble.  John’s efforts in the rehearsal room were again obvious from the diction, enthusiasm and nuance from the whole cast.

Lighting and sound design were well presented with a very crisp sound balance and costume and stage management moving swiftly between each scene supporting the on-stage action.

Congratulations to all and I very much look forward to seeing you again next year for Treasure Island.