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Review: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On BECOMING ELIZA

In this world premiere, Australia’s much-loved star soprano Anna O’Byrne shares her honest and personal story of stepping into one of the most iconic roles in musical the

Review: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On BECOMING ELIZA

10 June, 7pm, Playhouse, Sydney Opera House

In this world premiere, Australia's much-loved star soprano Anna O'Byrne shares her honest and personal story of stepping into one of the most iconic roles in musical theatre - Eliza Doolittle. In BECOMING ELIZA, Anna O'Byrne reflects on her unique experience and shares stories about working intimately with an internationally adored icon, Dame Julie Andrews ,who created the role sixty years ago.

The darken auditorium has a single beam of light that marks the centre stage and the solitary microphone.

From the shadows we hear the delicate, mesmerizing and beautiful tones of Anna O'Byrne's remarkable voice.

Then with instant lights up, we see O'Byrne as part of her mini orchestra as she imparts her first encounter with Eliza Dolittle.

At 13, her High School was presenting My Fair Lady. Anna was beneath the stage hiding in the orchestra, desiring to be part of the entertainment but too shy to be a performer. Her sister is strutting the floorboards above her with a brilliant performance of the famous Eliza.

Review: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On BECOMING ELIZA

Building on her courage and following her passion, O'Byrn tells us of her aspiration to be a singer and albeit being shy, she divulges that she loves the escape when playing a character. This leads to a lovely rendition of The Simple Joys of Maidenhood from Camelot.

Her career goals take her to London, that great city "with an under tow of poverty", we are then captivated by a joyous presentation of Burlington Bertie.

Anna hears of the Australian production of My Fair Lady. Her initial excitement is dashed when she hears that Dame Julie Andrews is directing, lamenting, "I'll never be picked".

Review: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On BECOMING ELIZA

Encouraged by her sister to forge ahead, Anna auditions.

It goes well, Julie is smiling.

Then waiting and waiting.

Devasted she doesn't get the role so from Darlin Lili Anna shares 'Smile Away Each Rainy Day'.

The evening continues where O'Byrne takes us on her journey of the trials and tribulations heading towards her Helpmann award for Best Leading Actress as Eliza Dolittle.

Anna talks of her devoted connection to Eliza, how a character becomes part of you, when they are real and ephemeral at the same time.

With a voice, that sounds like Anna is channelling Julie Andrews, we hear of the gorgeous soul that Ms Andrews is. At the first rehearsal, Anna timidly introduces herself and her role. After all the members of the company introduce themselves, lastly, Andrews just says "I'm mum".

Review: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On BECOMING ELIZA

The evening story reveals how Andrews is a firm and honest director and one with a generous soul.

O'Byrne has difficulty with the Ascot monologue that she comes to call "the marathon".

Andrews faithfully works with O'Byrne, then one time after a pep talk and some director notes, Ms Andrews gently proclaims: "How lucky are we".

Review: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On BECOMING ELIZA

O'Byrne's one-woman showcase is wonderfully enlivened with favourite hits from Andrew's extensive repertoire with beautifully intertwined songs. Not only from my Fair Lady but with gems from Mary Poppins,Camelot and The Sound of Music.

Musical Director Guy Simpson has sublimely weaved the songs and excerpts of tunes with aplomb.

Director Sharon Millerchip deftly has the evening travelling along at an easy pace with delicious bouts of humour mixed in with the trials of taking on the iconic role.

The highlight of the night is Anna O'Byrne's gorgeous, soulful, delightful and lovely voice.

Just extraordinary.

As she sings 'I could've Danced all Night', I'm contemplating: "I could've listened all night".

At the Playhouse , Sydney Opera House, June 10, 11 and 12.

https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/cabaret/2022/becoming-eliza.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwtIaVBhBkEiwAsr7-c0B_TcMkhRfsC4NxAN3WD0fnEL3cFMA_bHGV2s0eGLs7tEjz3-ABDBoCnaYQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://www.becomingeliza.com/

Review: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On BECOMING ELIZA




From This Author - Jade Kops

Jade is an Aviation Safety Training Instructor with a love of Theatre, Cabaret, Musical Theatre, and music and is a committed advocate for the live performing arts industry in Sydney and Australia.... (read more about this author)


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