Wednesday, 25 May 2011

"I'm a good girl, I am!"

Pygmalion1

We went along to see Pygmalion at The Garrick Theatre last night - and it was a remarkably surprising production! For despite the lure of seeing the eternally sexy Rupert Everett and the magnificent Dame Diana Rigg on stage together, it was the (previously unknown to me as I don't watch soaps or reality TV) first-timer Kara Tointon who emerged as a genuine star in the making.

Despite evidently being directed to impersonate Audrey Hepburn rather than actually portray an Edwardian character, Miss Tointon really injected some personality into her Eliza Doolittle - and provided a perfectly feisty foil for Mr Everett's terrifyingly dismissive Professor Higgins and Peter Eyre's aloof Colonel Pickering. Her scene when first introduced to polite society, engaging in ‘small talk’ with the society ladies, was hilarious and impeccably delivered - and her transformation from "squashed cabbage leaf" flower girl to well-spoken lady (without losing her anger) was convincing. Not bad for a West End debut!

Pygmalion2

Dame Diana was marvellous (as she would be) as Mrs Higgins - holding court in her drawing room - and Roberta Taylor’s Mrs Pearce the housekeeper is perfectly controlled as she seethes quietly about the Professor's callousness. There was only one weak spot - and a rather unfortunate one, given the importance of the character - in the fact that poor Simon Ward is unwell and has had to pull out of the production, leaving an obviously under-rehearsed Michael Feast to carry the part of Alfred Doolittle (who has so many of George Bernard Shaw's best lines in the play). Mr Feast is a good actor, but I felt myself wince several times as he stuttered, trying to get the lines - and losing a little of their emphasis on occasion.

The elegance, charm and wit of GB Shaw's writing shone through beautifully with such a great cast of thespians. Despite the unfortunately widespread set design, which placed Rupert Everett and Kara Tointon out of the eyeline of half the audience in the Circle on several occasions, at least you could always hear the dialogue. I am sure I was not alone in half-expecting them to burst into song ("reminder to self: this is the original, not My Fair Lady"), especially as little bursts of music do permeate the play...

Another joyful evening's entertainment, in celebration of the lovely Paul's birthday - and we managed to get our programmes autographed by a Dame, a queen and a debutante at the Stage Door afterwards!

Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre

5 comments:

  1. dear, you really should slum it occasionally - June Brown was brilliant in Eastenders last night - catch it on inlayer if you can.

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  2. inlayer was iplayer - this damn auto correct drives me to distraction.

    You seem to forever be the theatre lately … so many shows I want to see, lots of them ending in the next few weeks and yet work is leaving me so knackered I haven't seen anything since Betty Blue Eyes which I loved btw. x

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  3. well done on the signed programmes too.

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  4. This last couple of weeks have been bloody hectic, dear - however none of these shows have been expensive, in fact several of them have been free (I have joined Islington's theatre club and they have lots of "bums on seats" tickets for free). How life should be... Jx

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