A revival of the evergreen, ever-lilting, ever-intelligent Alan Lerner-Frederick Loewe 1956 musical My Fair Lady
closes out the 2009 summer season on Showboat Majestic under Tim Perrino’s direction. Much is brightly energetic and cleverly staged, though occasionally ragged in execution on the postage stamp stage, especially the Embassy Ball scene that ends Act I on a stumble. All 18 cast members give the piece their Showboat best. There’s an occasional lack of coordination between the live singing and the canned accompaniment (Steve Goers), and one or two numbers dash along at speeds that leave the singers panting. Costuming (Caren Young) is quite effective, with some dresses directly reflecting designs from the movie.
Since My Fair Lady is based on a play by iconoclastic writer George Bernard Shaw and carries forward some of his cerebration as well as his story line, it’s not likely to take a very romantic stance
. Yes, boy meets girl, but in an unusual way. And whether boy and girl get together at the end is left to interpretation. If yes, it won’t be in any conventionally romantic way.
Outside of Covent Garden Opera House on an evening in March, linguists Henry Higgins (Michael Shawn Starks) and Hugh Pickering (Dennis Murphy) get into a bit of bother with a Cockney flower seller named Eliza Doolittle (Helen Anneliesa Raymond). Her accent is so thick she’s barely understandable. Ignoring her as a woman with feelings and perceiving her purely as an experiment to be pursued, they settle on a wager: Higgins can, he vows, transform Eliza into a woman he can pass off as a lady of society simply by teaching her to speak proper English.
Wednesday-Sunday through Sept. 27. Tickets are $16-$17.
Read Tom McElfresh's full review here.