★★★★★ | My Fair Lady

Sheffield Theatres have managed to further cement their stellar reputation for staging top quality shows with this fresh and highly polished version of “My Fair Lady”. You probably already know the story and can hum a few of the tunes. You’ve maybe watched the 1964 film adaptation. Nothing, however, compares to this dazzling production.

Covent Garden flower seller Eliza Doolittle is taken under the wing of linguistics Professor, Henry Higgins when, as a wager, he decides to teach her to speak ‘proper’ in order to pass her off as an aristocrat amongst high society. BAFTA winner Dominic West (The Wire, The Hour and Appropriate Adult) portrays the nuances of Higgins’ characters with aplomb and in spite of his belligerent facade, manages to win the audience over. He manfully struts round the stage looking dashing in tweed and belting out songs with skilful intonation. The beautiful Carly Bawden is utterly captivating and is a force to be reckoned with as she applies her considerable vocal and acting talent to the role of Eliza. There can’t be a much harder act to follow than the original stars of the show, Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, but West and Bawden easily accomplish this.

The sets are elaborate and breathtaking, the choreography is stylish and rousing with more Cockneys tapping away than you could shake Dick Van Dyke’s bamboo stick at and the costumes are luscious. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an audience quite so enchanted by a production. The minute the show ended they were on their feet offering up a very noisy and rapturous standing ovation. Quite rightly too: this is a highly accomplished production, worthy of gracing any West End stage. I’m just not sure that an Edwardian gentlemen like ‘Enry ‘Iggins would approve of such jubilations. I think he’d have favoured a more gentle hand clap and a polite nod.

If you need a little pick me up to get you through the winter months then take my advice and book now (tickets are selling out fast) and get yourself over to ‘loverly’ Sheffield. You won’t be disappointed.

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“My Fair Lady” is running at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield until 26th January 2013