My Fair Lady
13th May 2017
St Michael's Church Hall Wigan
Type of Production
Alexandra Keogh, Frances Cheetham, Christine Armstrong & Clare Hodkinson
Author: Patricia Connor
"Wigan Musical Theatre Groups" latest production was that very popular musical "My Fair Lady “which has a score that includes some of the best known and loved songs from the musical theatre. The show is based on the 1913 stage play “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw and the Book “My Fair Lady” written by Alan Jay Lerner. The story concerns a cockney flower seller named Eliza Doolittle who takes speech lessons from the arrogant phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, who makes a wager that he could teach Eliza to speak "proper" English, thereby making her presentable for high society in Edwardian London and that he could pass her off as a lady. Alan Jay Lerner also wrote the lyrics for the musical which has music written by Frederek Loewe.
Directed by Frances Cheetham with musical direction by Joan Bond this was a lovely very enjoyable production which included some very enjoyable performances from the cast. Alexandra Keogh gave a superb performance in the demanding central role of Eliza Doolittle singing and acting beautifully, I felt this role really suited her. Alexandra was very well complimented by an excellent strong performance from Mark Lloyd in the other demanding role as the pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins while John Naughton was very gentlemanly and supportive as Colonel Pickering. John Clinton was a cheeky Alfred P Doolittle producing a comedic performance with good comic timing and Connor Bishop made a very good love struck Freddy Eynsford-Hill singing "On the Street Where You Live”, very nicely. Maria Rignall gave a very nice characterisation as the stern but understanding housekeeper Mrs Pearce and Clare Hodkinson was very sympathetic with some nice comedy touches in her role as Henry's mother Mrs Higgins. There were also some very enjoyable performances and good characterisations from the cast in the important supporting roles and the ladies and gentlemen of the chorus who supported the principal cast well, appeared to enjoy themselves immensely. Diction, projection and clarity of words was very good and accents were more than satisfactory so the story could be followed easily. The orchestra played well as usual supporting the cast performing on the stage excellently. Choreography from the team of Alexandra Keogh, Frances Cheetham, Christine Armstrong and Clare Hodkinson was just right for the production, the company and the venue but they also included some effective innovative movement during the well-known choral numbers where big production numbers would have been difficult to perform due to venue limitations.
Scenery and props were very effective and along with some lovely striking costumes added to the production. Well done to the stage crew and also the technical crew, a great deal of thought must have gone into getting things right. Just a constructive comment on a personal note, there were one or two occasions during scene changes when the inner curtains were drawn and there was an empty stage, maybe a walk across by some characters would have helped the flow of the show during these intervals. However, I have to say this was a very good entertaining production with a talented cast which included lots and lots of touches and things to be enjoyed by everyone, congratulations and well done to everybody involved, thank you very much for inviting us we had a lovely evening.