My Fair Lady

Date 6th March 2019
Society Southern Light Opera Company
Venue Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
Type of Production Musical
Director Andy Johnston
Musical Director Crawford Moyes
Choreographer Louise Williamson

Report

Author: Mike Pendlowski


Let us cut to the chase and say, in my view, this was musical theatre at its best!

From the first note, Crawford Moyes’ twenty-three piece orchestra sparkled, without ever becoming overbearing. 

No need to precis the plot of this most evergreen of musical comedies, instead, it must be said, the standard of the evening was set by Rebekah Lansley as a lovely Eliza Doolittle and a pleasantly restrained John Bruce as Henry Higgins. So often this latter part is performed with rumbustiousness in the extreme, but tonight, John proved that a quieter Higgins was just as effective. Rebekah’s portrayal of the flower-girl-made-good showed a definite understanding of the character – a facet of performing that is so often missed these days.

The standard of performing by the two lead characters was mirrored in Alfred P Doolittle (Keith Kilgour), Colonel Pickering (Alan Hunter), Freddy Eynsford-Hill (David Bartholomew) and Mrs Higgins (Averyl Nash), each of whom displayed exceptional talent in acting, delivery and choreography. The S.L.O. appears to have a bottomless pit of high quality talent when it comes to awarding principal parts. However, it doesn’t stop there, even the minor principals score in this show. With some lovely one-liners, Mrs Pearce (Judith Walker), Mrs Eynesford-Hill (my NODA District 6 colleague, Dorothy Johnstone), and Zoltan Karpathy (Kerr-Alexander Syme) all demonstrated how to get the most from the minor parts, assisted in no small way by a well-written book!

Let us mention, now, the Company as a whole. The sizeable S.L.O. chorus shone as usual, and, when it came to production numbers, the show simply exceeded any superlatives at my discretion. “Get Me To The Church On Time” was just one example of Louise Williamson’s superbly energetic and imaginative choreography. Finally, praise must go to Andy Johnston’s exemplary, traditional direction, which allowed the S.L.O. to glow in the beautiful Kings Theatre. This, together with sympathetic lighting, first class sound mixing and well-designed sets, set the standard for other shows in the District!

Thank you to the Southern Light Opera for inviting me to review your show, and also for the hospitality shown to us at the interval. 

Well done to all!