My Fair Lady
Paul Johnson | 12 Nov 2018 15:21pm
York Press review – 15th February 2008
THE original ladette to lady is back and this time she is being played by York Light Opera Company newcomer Rachel Reynolds.
A trading standards officer by day, by night she is Eliza Doolittle, who trades places in society from Cockney flower girl to duchess for a day.
Reynolds first undertook the strong-willed role for Pickering Musical Society and learning Cockney vowel-mangling with the aid of a dialect tutor on the internet has paid off. The accent could grate cheese at 100 paces, and while her singing is very pretty indeed, her cut-glass voice veers a little off the straight and narrow towards the Welsh valleys.
Playing opposite her as the irascible phonetics professor and voice coach Henry Higgins is, no surprises here, York Light’s inveterate leading man, Rory Mulvihill, in his 34th show. The shock is to see Mulvihill sporting such a spectacularly grey/white head of hair that ages him beyond Rex Harrison – as a sort of T Rex Harrison, dinosaur of misogyny – and puts Higgins far closer in age to his mother (Hazel Burrows, looking resplendent 39 years after playing Eliza for the same society).
Mulvihill sings as heartily as ever and his polished performance is typically well choreographed and waspishly humorous, but in seeking to mirror the hands-in-waistcoat poise of Harrison, some of his short walks across stage are too mannered.
Company regular Ian Small warms to the genial role of Colonel Pickering, while the pick of Martyn Knight’s casting decisionsss is Craig Kirby as the well-lubricated Alfred P Doolittle. An amateur actor and director for 20 years, he joined York Light only last year and his rendition of Get Me To The Church On Time, linking so well with the ensemble, marks him out as a leading Light’ for the future.
Alex Deadman, back on stage very quickly after playing Tobias in Sweeney Todd, is delightfully nice but dim as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, and his singing of On The Street Where You Live is more romantic than St Valentine’s Day.
The Ascot Gavotte, in traditional Cecil Beaton black and white, is the fashion highlight, and we should all raise a glass to the ensemble’s beer-tankard dance.
After three hours we are all probably needing a little reviver, but there is much to enjoy here.
- : user
- : 18/02/2008