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Old 5th Jan 2013, 10:58   #1
Colyngbourne
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Default My Fair Lady; Dominic West/Carly Bawden; Crucible Theatre 2013





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Old 7th Jan 2013, 10:16   #2
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Default Re: My Fair Lady; Dominic West/Carly Bawden; Crucible Theatre 2013

Small country isn't it? I was in Sheffield City centre on Friday and walked past the Crucible on my way to the Winter Gardens.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 7:47   #3
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Default Re: My Fair Lady; Dominic West/Carly Bawden; Crucible Theatre 2013

Older daughter is at Sheffield Hallam uni since Sept, and it's my home-town, so it was a welcome re-visit to the Crucible for the first time in 27 years.

We must have missed bumping into you by only a couple of hours!
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:15   #4
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Default Re: My Fair Lady; Dominic West/Carly Bawden; Crucible Theatre 2013

It was real treat to be back at the Crucible after such a long interval. The carpet is new but the muffled sound interior of the theatre bar and surrounds is identical to the feel of the Seventies, the colour-coded auditorium doors yielding glimpses of exquisite ironwork tracery, Victorian archways that formed the stunning backdrop to one half of the sets of My Fair Lady. Multi-functioning, they stood for the arches of Covent Garden, the trellis work of racing stands at Royal Ascot or the elegant conservatory windows of Mrs Higgins, or the mere architectural finery of an Edwardian Wimpole Street. The other half of the revolve-backdrop was formed by the two-storey interior of Henry Higgins’ study, with spiral stair to an upper hallway, dressed with loving period detail to a degree that provoked gasps of delight when Higgins produced what for want of a better word, I shall called the “huffing machine” (the one where Eliza has to pronounce her “h’s into the tube to produce a flare of flame).

For anyone in the least familiar with the 1964 musical film, the attention to detail in evoking the Edwardian period, the characterisation and the energy of this production made it a first-class evening and perhaps more moving in spirit than even Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn’s turns as the stubborn bachelor and Cockney flowergirl. The main reason for Xmas present tickets to see this was the Dominic West factor and whilst newspaper reviews praise him highly, they reserve their attention and highest plaudits for Carly Bawden who does indeed deserve them. This somewhat unfairly detracts from what is a stunning performance from McNulty, who balances the Harrison-esque ‘talking on pitch’ vocals with some really attractive singing that actually reveal more of the musical numbers’ true beauty. He also invests the character with a degree of feeling that emerges strongly when Eliza comes into her own, facing him down at his mother’s house – “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” reveals emotions that run deeply – to his own surprise – and make the final tableau of Eliza returning to stand in the study mirroring his assertiveness with her stance, a position that lifts them into the possibilities of a future together as equals. Playing Higgins as a mid-40’s man to Eliza’s 21 years also feels a lot less creepy than the far greater age-gap in the film.

As a long-term Anthony Calf fan, I was absolutely delighted to see what a triumph he makes of Colonel Pickering – the bantering conversation between the two bachelors is a gem. Martyn Ellis as Alfred P Doolittle plays it as a hefty-sized man, a man also with an edge of darkness to his character, not just a cheeky chirpy chappy but someone you would not want to get on the wrong side of, restrained mostly by his blagging skiving make-merry philosophy, and his musical numbers were great energy-boosting pieces with tremendous ensemble singing and choreography. His voice wasn’t always quite strong enough to project all the lyrics but then again, I don’t always catch Stanley Holloway’s words in the film either.

As a drama and a musical production it really could not be faulted. The old-style Shavian wit shone through, Higgins’ misogyny still raises a great laugh, the costumes were beyond exquisite and the musical production from a very small orchestra pit was astounding. The applause raised the twinkling-rooflights and West and Bawden both enjoyed uproarious standing ovations (my daughter and I whooped for Anthony Calf too).

I’m sure there are no tickets left for the remainder of its brief run (until 26th Jan) but this is a perfect production and West deserves major credit for his first serious musical role.
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