My Fair Lady

Date 6th March 2019
Society Ware Operatic Society
Venue Hertford Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director John Hebden
Musical Director James Reynolds
Choreographer David Barton


Author: Vicki Avery

My Fair Lady was the perfect choice for Ware Operatic’s 50th Anniversary show. Popular with audiences, good houses were almost guaranteed when the story was known and songs recognisable.

A good orchestra lead by MD James Reynolds set the atmosphere, which was kept up throughout. The set was my kind of set. Minimalistic with excellent use of occasional furniture and props. Set changes were slick and executed with the minimum of fuss. A well-disciplined team working here. Lighting was beautifully designed by Cameron Biggs, making excellent use of colour on the back syc’, blending day into night in a very natural fusion of colour.  There were no problems with the sound, diction was clear and could be heard well above the orchestra.

The choreographed dance routines were well rehearsed and generally well executed, the chorus certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves especially in “Get Me to the Church on Time.”

Mick Wilson as Higgins and Jilly Mabbitt as Eliza played well against each other and the on–off relationship between the arrogant Higgins and venerable Eliza came across well. I felt that Jilly was more comfortable with the “New Eliza” rather than the flower girl but never the less for someone’s first venture into musical theatre she did well. Musical numbers were charming but own the stage and savour every moment. 

Mick Wilson as Higgins exhibited the required blend of pompous authority and scant understanding of anyone outside his social class, whilst still exhibiting confusion and vulnerability. He performed those familiar “non-singing” numbers perfectly.  

David Ronco was a benevolent if, on occasion, slightly befuddled Pickering.  His two telephone calls were amusing and his obvious kindness towards Eliza contrasted well with Higgins.
Paul St. James was Eliza’s father Alfred, an ageing Jack-the-Lad with a bravado which makes his ultimate fate, finding himself unwittingly elevated to the middle classes, all the more amusing.  With two cracking Cock-er-ny showstoppers to perform he was able to make a grand impression on the audience. His characterization was spot on and his animated facial expressions added a third dimension to this larger than life character. Well done I love it.

Matt Lampitt, who played the lovelorn Freddy Eynsford-Hill with puppy-like devotion, sadly struggled a little with his big number but the audience remain sympathetic, aware that he’s never going to get the girl.

Jenny Reynolds was perfect as Mrs Pearce, Higgins’ housekeeper and Eliza’s protector. A strong singer, I enjoyed Jenny’s interpretation of the role.

 Mary Pick as Higgins’ long-suffering mother, watched amusingly, the effect Eliza had upon her clueless son and I particularly liked her control over the scene at Ascot.

Sue Mulligan as a genteel Mrs Eynsford-Hill, showed us the archetypical upper-class woman. Poise, deportment and speech perfect. 

This was a quality performance, thoroughly appreciated by the audience, given by a hard-working company under a dedicated production team.  

Thank you for your hospitality and congratulations to you all.