Last night we went to the Theatre Royal in Bath to see the Peter Hall direction. It was excellent, Tim Piggott-Smith made a good Higgins, he played
it as a cross between the enthusiastic academic and a spoilt child which worked well, especially in the scenes with his mother, well characterised but
not so well played by Barbara Jefford. James Laurenson caught Pickering very well, the mix of Indian Army officer and enthusiastic academic well
balanced by the 'gentleman' that the character undoubtedly is. Una Stubbs was a surprisingly good Mrs Pearce, her background in dance coming
through well now that she is a more mature, and probably more attractive, woman, enabling her to move elegantly in the costume. The Eynesford-Hills
were suitably vapid and managed not to interfere with the story, and Tony Haygarth made an excellent Alfred Doolittle, at least, I thought so, the
rest of the audience weren't so enthusiastic. And so to Michelle Dockery as Eliza, I'm not completely convinced about her performance, she lost the
cockney occasionally, but the artificial, robotic, middle scene, the '..not bloody likely...' one, actually worked very well and she conjured up an
evocation of the original 'Galatea', statuelike, not yet fully conversant with her new role, and her growing into the 'new role' as an educated
woman was also well accomplished.
The sets were thoroughly suitable, dressed with the requirements of the plot and not getting too overblown with uneccessary props (although a lamp was knocked over in one scene prompting an unscripted, and uncharacteristic "Oops" from Stubbs) and the lighting was unobtrusive, another plus as far as I am concerned.
Costumes were on the whole good, and again suitable, although at one point the VPL of a thoroughly modern pair of knickers was obvious on Miss Dockery, which was a shame because otherwise her costume was very good, highlighting the changes as her education continues.
In general an excellent production which carried Shaw's words extremely well and, apart from a slight over-statement of the characters and an over-emphasis at the end when Higgins became very much the small child suddenly aware at what he had lost, pretty true to what I understand Shaw's intentions for the piece to have been.
The play transfers to the Old Vic on May 7th. and I think it's worth seeing.
Ever consider doing theater reviews for a living?
You'd get to get into shows for free.
The downside is you get into the BAD shows at the same price.
Actually I get into a lot of shows free anyway as I go as my wife's carer.
So, who pays? Your wife?
Don't answer that Simon, I'm sure it works very similarly here in OZ.
She usually gets a reduced rate due to her disability.
The money comes out of the same hole in the wall.
Hey! We've got one of those! The day they installed one in our town, the bank put on a barby to inebriate... er.. celebrate!