By Laurie Scarborough
The Cape Town Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s 2016 musical has hit the Opera House stage at the Artscape Theatre. My Fair Lady opened on 16 July for a three week run.
The musical, an old favourite of many, follows a young Cockney flower-seller’s social climb after she is picked off the London streets by a Linguist trying to win a bet that he can reform her within six months. The story, filled with charm and humour, is based on George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion.
Starring Trevor Joubert as the obliviously self-absorbed and even misogynistic phoneticist, Professor Henry Higgins, and Linda Pledger Eedes as the fiesty flower-selling Eliza Doolittle, the show could do no wrong. Joubert brought a certain endearing quality to Higgins, which I think made him a more likeable and humorous character. Eedes has a beautiful voice and pulled off both the Cockney and British RP accents perfectly. Her Eliza was suitably brash and then glamorous and ladylike.
The musical has a lot of humour in it which was great and the audience responded really well to the comedy. The story too, was a highlight for me with a very redemptive message.
The sets and costumes were fantastic and numerous. The huge cast had multiple costume and make-up changes: from dirty street merchants to posh aristocrats at the horse racing, all the costumes were spot on.
It was wonderful seeing the familiar faces of people I’d danced and sung with in a previous G&S production as well. I think something else that really struck me about the show was that all of the cast are unpaid and do it for the love of theatre. They all have jobs or studies by day, and perform by night – a task I can tell you from experience is both thrilling and exhausting.
I think one point of the production that perhaps could have been improved was the scene changes. When the sets were being changed, they frequently had these little filler scenes that were a bit pointless and irrelevant to the story, and this just added to the length of the show and broke the scenes a bit.
Despite this, you would never guess that the show was amateur, from all the production design elements including the costumes, sets, colourful props, stage dressing, to the wonderful and talented cast of singers and dancers, the show really was a great success and worthy of professional attention.
Well done to all involved and looking forward to hearing what’s on the cards for next year’s G&S production.
Don’t forget to book your tickets here. They are almost sold out. Show must close 7 August.