It's time for my review of My Fair Lady.
My Fair Lady is a musical that I have always had an interest in seeing, however prior to the 2018 Broadway revival there has not been a production of this show in either London or New York since I was born. Despite this, I did get the opportunity to see a touring production of Pygmalion, which My Fair Lady is based off of, in 2014 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Luckily, on my recent trip to New York City I was finally provided with the opportunity to see My Fair Lady - my final show of the vacation!
My Fair Lady follows pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins, a man so sure of his abilities that he takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class girl into someone that can pass for a cultured member of high society. His 'subject' turns out to be the delightful Eliza Doolittle, who agrees to speech lessons to improve her job prospects. Henry and Eliza often clash, before forming an unlikely bond. It is a charming tale, taking its audience back to the Edwardian era. Looking back on the story from a modern lens it is what many would call a 'rags to riches' story, and it could potentially be compared to present-day stories such as Pretty Woman, which has recently opened on Broadway. The character of Eliza Doolittle is particularly interesting; as the musical progresses we see her go from a low-paid flower girl to a strong, independent and respected individual.
The score of My Fair Lady is also charming. Similar to the book, the score is interesting to listen to from a modern perspective, due to the fact that is it so uniquely different from what can be heard in contemporary musicals. There are many great songs within this score, with my personal favourites being 'With a Little Bit of Luck', 'I Could Have Danced All Night' and 'On the Street Where You Live'.
Lauren Ambrose usually performs in the role of Eliza Dolittle, however at Sunday matinees alternate Kerstin Anderson takes the reigns of the role. Anderson was utterly outstanding in this role and was a true pleasure to watch. She makes the character development of Eliza crystal clear, evidently showing the dramatic changes that the character goes through on her rise through society's ranks. Anderson's voice is also excellent, performing a flawless rendition of 'I Could Have Danced All Night'. Opposite Kerstin Anderson's Eliza was Harry Hadden-Paton, as Professor Henry Higgins. Hadden-Paton is sublime in this role, giving a tremendously engaging performance. I particularly enjoyed his characterisation of the role, which clearly demonstrated both the stern side of the character as well as his softer side. A special mention must also be given to Adam Grupper, who was understudying as Colonel Pickering. I had previously seen Grupper understudying in Fiddler on the Roof, during which he performed in the leading role of Tevye. As Pickering, Grupper gives yet another terrific performance. I also quite enjoyed Diana Rigg's performance as Mrs. Higgins, who despite limited stage time, gives a wonderful performance.
The set designs, which has been created by Michael Yearn, are immensely detailed. When I first laid my eyes upon the house of Professor Henry Higgins, I was awestruck. It is apparent that barrels of both thought and energy have been placed into creating this monumental scenery. The costumes designed by Catherine Zuber, which recently earned this production a Tony Award, are also highly impressive. They too are highly detailed, perfectly recreating Edwardian-era costumes. The choreography, by Christopher Gattelli, and orchestrations are also remarkable, with both aspects nicely complimenting the score.
The featured star of My Fair Lady is, drum roll please... HARY HADDEN-PATON!
Harry Hadden-Paton is giving a masterclass of a performance as Professor Henry Higgins. He has perfectly embodied the character, flawlessly creating a great characterisation by using voice, physicality and mannerisms. This is currently one of the best performances on all of Broadway!
Now for my final verdict on My Fair Lady. I give My Fair Lady...
My Fair Lady is an old classic and it is safe to say that this production has done the show justice. With memorable performances and incredible designs, this was a delight to watch!
Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.
Thanks for reading!