BWW Review: MY FAIR LADY at the Regent Theatre
Fans of the classic film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison will not be disappointed with the recreation of the 1956 stage production of My Fair Lady currently playing Melbourne at the Regent Theatre.
A Lerner & Lowe masterpiece, directed by the incomparable Julie Andrews (the original lead role in the 1956 production) this production is visually spectacular and musically beautiful.
Anna O'Byrne is sublimely cast as Eliza Doolittle, the young flower girl plucked from the gutter by language and phonetics professor, Henry Higgins. Her transitions from pure, laugh out loud comedy to tormented, vulnerable moments are seamless and honest. Coupled with her angelic voice, she is incredible as the lead role and her agility in transitioning from one accent and dialect to another is worth applause alone.
Audiences may recognise this production's Henry Higgins from their televisions as Charles Edwards (who plays Michael Gregson in the global phenomenon Downton Abbey) is the stand out of the production as he commands the audience from the moment he steps out from behind the pillar in the opening scene. With an expertly complex depiction of Higgins, Edwards swings as easily from comedy to intensity as O'Byrne, a clearly commendable direction from Dame Julie Andrews. Edwards is a tour de force in this production, with a five star performance.
The renowned legend and brilliance of both Reg Livermore and Robyn Nevin continues on as they delivere brilliant line after brilliant line as Alfred P Doolittle and Mrs Higgins respectively. Livermore leaves every ounce of energy he possesses on the stage and Nevin is perfectly precise and dry with some of the best lines in the book.
The ensemble truly shine in the Ascot races scene, and in the incredibly high energy I'm Getting Married in the Morning. A few featured voices deserve recognition with wonderful moments from Octavia Barron-Martin, Joel Parnis, James Lee, and the house staff at 27A Wimpole Street.
Oliver Smith and Cecil Beaton's original set and costume designs are an exquisite feast for the eyes throughout the production and the soaring score is so richly performed by the orchestra, led by Guy Simpson.
A wonderful recreation of the original stage production of My Fair Lady that does all the justice it deserves.
Photo credits: Brian Geach