Friday, June 06, 2008

"Move Yer Bloomin' Arse!"

one of the most well-known scenes from the movie

Today JBug and I went to the South Coast Performing Arts Center to see My Fair Lady. It is one of our favorite movies, and classic Audrey Hepburn. Honestly, I didn't have high hopes, simply because how do you improve upon Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison? But a friend had tickets for a song, and the price was right, so off we went.

I had hoped to take pictures of JBug in front of the Hall, but I forgot my camera, unfortunately. She was happy anyway, because she doesn't like pictures. Given a choice, I believe she would never take another again: I think she is worried the camera will steal her soul or some such. I want her to pose for pictures. They are my only insurance that she had a happy childhood! I have to have some defense when she tells her therapist as an adult how awful I was! I wasn't awful, remember, we saw Wicked! Yeah, ok, no pictures, but I have a picture of you getting the tickets for Christmas! And remember, we saw My Fair Lady the summer that you graduated from the Eighth grade! HOW can you say that you hate me?? That's what I'll say years from now.

The cast we saw was the London revival and honestly, it was some of the best set design I have ever seen. The lighting was spectacular, and I never notice that kind of thing. But at one point, in Professor Higgin's darkened home, he opens the curtains off to the side and the spot looks like a paned window with sun shining in. It was very impressive, truly. The sets were all mechanized, but moved so fluidly that it wasn't obvious when they were changing. There was no dark time, the sets were smoothly transitioned at the end of songs, so that the next scene was ready. Seamless and the effect appeared to be effortless.

Lisa O' Hare, the actress who played Eliza was wonderful. She managed to take a role that Audrey Hepburn epitomized and make it her own. This Eliza was strong, and resolute. Christopher Cazenove, best known as Ben Carrington from the 80's hit Dynasty played Henry. He was also very good, though I do believe he was channeling Rex Harrison. His intonations were absolutely uncanny, and at times I had to remind myself this was not Rex Harrison playing the part. He performed well, but I found myself wanting a bit more from him. What did he bring to the role? I wanted to see his take on Henry Higgins, not his take on Rex Harrison as Higgins.

Higgins' mother and Eliza's father were stand outs, in my opinion. Eliza's father has the most boisterous role in the show, and he worked it out. Henry's mother was also very good, and a character one would do well to befriend.

The only time I scratched my head was during the song "A Little Bit of Luck." All of the musical numbers were staged and choreographed well,and they should have been, since the choreography and staging was done by two-time Tony Award winner Matthew Bourne, currently known for his work on Mary Poppins. It was directed by Trevor Nunn, himself a recipient of four Tonys. However during "With a Little Bit of Luck", there was an ill-conceived Stomp-type performance with trash can lids in the middle. It wasn't terrible, just distracting. It was an attempt to update a show that is timeless, and was wholly unnecessary in my opinion.

All in all, it was a very entertaining play, and I would recommend it. JBug liked it very much, but then, she always likes the theatre. Now that I know there is an educational program with discounted tickets, I will have to plan ahead for next year. Even with traffic home an HOUR when it is supposed to take 20 minutes it was worth it. We noticed that in September "Legally Blonde" is coming to the theatre. I am sure we will have to see that one, too.

T, who is a closet Broadway musical fiend

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