Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Last night I went to see the much loved Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum in London's glitzy West End.
First the good stuff...  Fresh from Broadway, it is the very definition of a comforting night out at the theatre. Bartlett Sher’s direction is straightforward and does the business. It glides from one well-loved song to the next on an elegantly twirling set designed by Michael Yeargan. We are in a bygone Britain filled with top hats, period lamp-posts and oak-panelled rooms. You get the picture. Amara Okereke, as Eliza Doolittle, has a voice that fills the auditorium. It's beautifully staged. The show is generally well acted. And funny. The costumes are fab too. The Ascot scene was great - as was the show-stopper Get Me To The Church On Time.
But.. but... My Fair Lady is such a dreadfully misogynistic show. And painfully class-ist too. Drag a poor woman out of the gutter, make her talk proper (using threats of casual violence) and use her as an object (of a bet). They then ditch her and get angry when she dares to object. 
And our Henry Higgins (Harry Hadden-Paton) plays his part knowing only too well he's on a sticky wicket. Yes, yes, all very funny to be 'Very English', but it’s sexist plain and simple, he’s a bully, arrogant and a snob.  Eliza is not given adequate words to reply in the show. She is often mute(d). Her words when she has them are either to be shouted or seen as complaining.
And the production was not without it’s shortcomings. Sadly we had no Vanessa Redgrave (meant to playing Higgins’ mum) last night either and Stephen K Amos as Eliza's dustman dad wasn’t really up to the task. He stumbled his lines and was rather unconvincing.
The sound was a bit off too. They faded principal singers up too late - often after someone had already sung a few words. ….anced all night….      …arried in the morning…    …ain in Spain…  etc.
Freddie was weak as well. Not handsome enough - playing it for laughs - a bit of an fopish idiot. No way Eliza would have fallen for him.
They rewrote the ending too - to make it seem less misogynist perhaps - but even that rather clanged being both puzzling and unconvincing.  We expected to bump into her in the foyer.
So a mixed night overall. Great songs of course, but a bit too long at 3 hours and when coupled with the dodgy libretto... well. it's hard to recommend. 
And if you see that bloke again who was sitting next to me and who insisted on singing along to I Could Have Danced All Night loudly, give him a wallop from me.
On the way home I passed Amy Adams graciously signing programmes for her show outside The Duke Of Yorks. If she'd seen how long the queue was she'd have thrown the Glass Menagerie at them.

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