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My Fair Lady
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My Fair Lady - Northern Echo Review

My Fair Lady: Durham Gala Theatre

by Sarah Foster

This heart-warming tale of a flower girl who, under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins, rises through the social ranks to be mistaken for an aristocrat, cannot fail to appeal. It was probably partly due to this that its first night at the Gala was a sell-out. But the interest was also undoubtedly as a result of Durham Amateur Operatic Society’s reputation for quality.

Having already performed three times at the theatre, the society has become one of its biggest draws, and audiences will not be disappointed with the latest offering.

My Fair Lady sees the return of two of the society’s stalwarts -  Delia McNally and Anthony Smith, in the leading roles of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins.

Watching McNally perform is a delight — whether as Cockney down-and-out or belle of the ball, she manages utterly to charm the audience, slipping from one character to the other with ease. Her stage presence and versatility make you wonder why she doesn’t make a career of acting. She is ably supported by a strong cast, including Smith as a suitably pigheaded Higgins and Laurence Scott as the gentlemanly Colonel Pickering.

Olly Burton injects energy and humour into his role as Eliza’s father, contributing some great comic moments, and the music, costumes and set are of the society’s usual high standard.

Two little dogs provoked much amusement in their cameo roles as Mrs Higgins’s pets, and despite the show’s length, the audience was with it all the way.

Published: July 2003 in the Northern Echo


My Fair Lady - Northern NODA News

My Fair Lady is a very demanding show, calling for strong acting from the two main principals, and especially good singing from Eliza. Delia McNally was the obvious choice for this role, singing all her songs with ease, and coping convincingly with the transition from cockney flower girl to lady.

Anthony Smith gave a relaxed interpretation of the self-assured Professor Higgins, and he had a wonderful foil in Laurence Scott, who played the very correct Colonel Pickering.

I particularly enjoyed the playing of Helen Harries in the lovely cameo role of Mrs. Pierce. Valenda Taylor was ideally cast as Mrs. Higgins with her perfect style and diction.

Olly Burton played Alfred Doolittle with robust panache, and Graeme Walton, as Freddy, gave us a lovely “On The Street Where You Live”. There were some lively, boisterous cockney numbers, and an impressive Ascot Gavotte.

Thank you for a wonderful evening.

Published: August 2003 in the Northern NODA News


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