“...the perfect ingredients for an applauded, five-star production.”
I had the pleasure of attending LOS’s last night of this Lerner and Lowe classic. This long-standing, talented society never fail to deliver quality and David Easto (MD), Emma Hill (Director) and Jessica Lambert (Choreog.) ensured a polished and luxurious musical was served up to the Lichfield Garrick audience like a sumptuous dinner. To my delight Richard Poynton took on the Higgins role and executed the character with absolute perfection (as he did with Todd at The Grand), and a most charming Eliza, played flawlessly by classical singer Vickie Beck, sealed the deal for me with their lighthearted onstage chemistry being unrivalled. Beck excelled where accents came into play, from guttersnipe to King’s consort she absolutely nailed it. Poynton’s witty insults thrown at Eliza, which would most likely hit the tabloid headlines today, kept us giggling as he portrayed the Professor of phonetics in true exasperated Rex Harrison style, enthusiastically dashing around his library, complete in knitted cardigan desperate to solve the mystery of why women can’t be more like men. Really enjoyed James Pugh’s lovable mediator Colonel Pickering. Pugh delivered some particularly funny moments, the ‘phone conversation with the police being a highlight and contributing just the right amount of wit, gentleness and comedy throughout the production. A magnificent Mrs Higgins was played by Julie Mallaband (this talented actress oozes perfection with every gesture and word spoken) and Chris Stanley played Doolittle with down-to-earth humour, just as we’d expect, with highly amusing, ale-infused dance steps and a visit to 27A Wimpole Street to demand a respectable payment of five pounds which delights Higgins and Pickering even more. Sue Morgan played a marvellous Mrs Pearce, who was clearly more in control of the situation than anyone else and Ben Foulds played the dashing and infatuated Freddy Eynsford-Hill whose song ‘On the street where you live’ was a show highlight. Thoroughly enjoyed Phil Bourn’s amusing portayal of Zoltan Karpathy. Bourn excels in versatility having seen him perform previously in South Pacific and The Full Monty and he competently exudes a generous energy. A strong cast with large ensemble, a first-class orchestra, great choreography, an exceptional wardrobe, simple set and good tech are the perfect ingredients for an applauded, five star production.
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