We’re in a bit of a rush to get to the Opera House.
As we’re taking our seats I just manage to take a quick look around – there’s not a seat free. Word has quickly spread about screen icon Dame Julie Andrews’ (known to many her roles in Mary Poppins and The Sound Of Music) directing debut and renowned British actor Alex Jennings’ third reprisal of the hilariously egocentric Professor Henry Higgins.
Playing at the Sydney Opera House until November 5, 2016, the current Australian production of My Fair Lady celebrates 60 years since the much-loved musical’s Broadway debut – in which Andrews played flower girl-cum-duchess Eliza Doolittle.
The lights go down and the big stage names immediately live up to the hype. From the opening scene, Jennings’ brilliant performance justifies his third take on Professor Higgins and Anna O’Byrne delights as Eliza. My boyfriend particularly enjoys Reg Livermore’s cheeky rendition of Eliza’s father, Alfred, and legendary Australian actress Robyn Nevin’s take on Higgins’ deliciously sarcastic mother. They have him laughing out loud and repeating their lines for days.
The singing provides just as much wow-factor as the acting. Both the solos and choral sequences are wonderful. The classic “I Could Have Danced All Night,” sung by O’Byrne, totally sweeps me away, and after “A Hymn to Him,” in which Professor Higgins demands “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” I’m clutching at my stomach from laughing so much. The accompaniment from the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra is completely enchanting and binds all the musical elements together.
I am further enthralled by the mise en scène – absolutely every detail has been considered! The period costumes are immaculately put together, right down to the last frothy pink parasol and delicate string of pearls. The set too is a work of art, impressing me equally with its recreation of Professor Higgins’ grand library and the chaos of Covent Garden Markets.
All in all, My Fair Lady has something for everyone. In my glance around the theatre, I noticed people of all ages: men and women, boys and girls; and I’m sure all of them would have had a magical evening. As for my boyfriend and I, we certainly left My Fair Lady wanting to dance all night.
The Carousel would like to thank Charmaine D’Souza for her review of My Fair Lady.
You can buy tickets by clicking here.