REVIEW: Viva’s My Fair Lady is a ‘positively gobsmacking’ musical show
- Credit: Archant
Viva has done it again! This amazing group produced a wonderful musical show that would have been really difficult to do by most other theatre companies.
‘My Fair Lady’ is one of those unforgettable shows that is inextricably part of the British psyche. The script rings true in any generation and the songs and witticisms are almost cliché’s because they are so well understood and remembered.
When one is so familiar with the professional production when it first came out, it is so hard not to compare – but this night there were no concerns. These talented actors presented the story exactly as expected and not once did I ever feel that it missed anything of the original production.
The characters were all true to their roles: Eliza (played by Kerry Hibbert) with her delightful cockney origins and her amazing transformation, Professor Higgins (Richard Dodd) the incorrigible bachelor with hardly a kind word to say to the opposite sex, his friend, Colonel Pickering (David Tickner) in contrast, so kind and such a gentleman, Henry Higgin’s mother (Anthea Kenna) who sided with Eliza more than her son – she knew him too well, Eliza’s Dad Alfred Doolittle (Geoff Fisher) originally a happy morally-free spirit ruined into becoming middle class by Professor Higgin’s gesture out of thoughtless expediency, the long suffering Mrs Pearce (Samantha Gallop)who acted as a quietly essential pivot to events and the love-sick Freddy Eynsford Hill (Josh Schumann).
Other vital characters included Mrs Eynsford Hill (Chloe Grimes), Harry (Vaughan Moll), Jamie (David Moat), Professor Zoltan (Lee Sherwood), bartender (Sarah Shorney), Mrs. Hopkins (Mary Barnes), Cockney/Ascot guest (Sophie Plachcinski), the butler (Max Bovingdon), the Footman (Scott Robertson), and Lord and Lady Bovingdon (David and Emma Moat).
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The show was further enhanced by some excellent singing maids and servants and dance ensembles.
It was so enjoyable outside on this warm summer’s evening, while the road in front of the hall served as a stage.
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Props were minimal and even when sets were changed the cast bustled onto the stage and removed them as needed just like a bevy of servants- very much a part of the show.
Just when we thought that nothing could be improved– at the Ascot scene we see a real racehorse ‘Cry of Freedom’ (once winner at Newbury ridden by none other than the famous Frankie Dettori) was calmly led in front of us to walk across the stage.
Later, as Higgins drove Eliza for her grand appearance, they did not simply move off stage, they got into a real Marlin sports car and drove off. Positively gobsmacking.
As expected the singing was superb, soloists and ensembles alike. How the orchestra situated deep inside the building and the singers on stage kept absolutely together was amazing.
Technical Management and Design (Nigel Thompson) must be congratulated for his efforts.
Choreography, costumes and lighting also enhanced the production magnificently and what really made this show special was the way in which there was no pretension about the performance, it was simply a beautifully-produced showing of a musical that we all know and love.
Congratulations must go to the Director Dan Schumann and Assistant Director Sammy Williams, Producers James Wood and Daniel Schumann, Musical Director Richard Hayward and the instrumentalists, and Choreographer Jess Clifford and their amazing teams.
The next Viva production to look forward to is ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ from the October 27 to 29 at the Performing Arts Centre at Soham contact: (01353) 722228.