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Wednesday 08 April 2009


Review: My Fair Lady at the Civic

Posted in: Performance
By Clinton Meneses - 30th March 2009

It is Wednesday afternoon at twelve forty five and I am already seated in the atmospheric Civic Theatre waiting for the advent of My Fair Lady. The orchestra is in the pit tuning and there is a slight frisson from a mature and eager audience seated behind me. The lights dim, the stars come out and the show begins!

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My Fair Lady is opulent, lavish and exquisitely presented. Devised on a revolve, the set is beautiful with acute attention to detail paid in each scene. The costumes are fantastically made and slickly fitted.

William McInnes as Henry Higgins is impeccable. This is a good place to say that the diction and clarity in the entire piece cannot be faulted, but in our two principals these were delivered in abundance. Mr. McInnes was clipped, succinct and English in all the right ways. His delivery was delightful and his passion and emotion near the end of act two was so exquisitely portrayed, there was no doubt as to why Eliza Doolittle chose to shun the boy for the man.

Taryn Fieberg all but left me breathless as the incomparable Eliza Doolittle. Her transformation from guttersnipe to Princess was immaculate. The character development ideal and believable, and the comic scene at Ascot delivered divinely! Her voice, likewise, "done me in". As a gay man it is neither a stretch nor a betrayal to fall in love with a leading lady. Ask the boy from Oz. Ms Fieberg is worth falling for.

The other major players all deserve a mention. Hayden Tee as Freddy is delightful. Rhys McConnachie as Pickering (the quintessential gentleman and the balance to Higgins' initial callousness) is engaging and brilliantly portrayed. The scene changes themselves were a character; seamless and entertaining, leaving no room for yawns or boredom.

Alfred Doolittle's signature "getting married in the morning" was rousing fun, with the ensemble fully engaged and entirely accomplished. The entire show had a cohesiveness which pays credit to all involved, from the performers shining on stage to the crew backstage, unsung but integral.

I have no fault to find in this delightful production, and indeed I had no need to look for one!

My Fair Lady is on stage at Auckland's Civic Theatre until 12 April.

Shown below is a clip from the original My Fair Lady movie, with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison singing the 'Rain in Spain'.


Clinton Meneses - 30th March 2009