My Fair Lady’s Eliza Doolittle is ‘a good girl…’ and great Rotary musical theatre
BRACEBRIDGE — “I’s a good girl – I am.”
Yes, My Fair Lady, you are a good girl — and great theatre.
The Bracebridge Rotary Club’s annual musical, which opens a two-weekend run at the Rene Caisse Theatre on Thursday night with its dinner gala, is a warm and engaging production filled with lively songs, entertaining performances and superb music.
It’s a long three hours with intermission – but worth it.
Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, it’s the story of Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a “lady.”
And what a beautiful lady that flower girl blossoms into under the TLC of Higgins (Drew Hutcheson) and his friend Col. Pickering (Terry Bridle).
Kayleigh Adie springs to life as Eliza with amazing grace and voice, overcoming her character’s English-as-a-first language challenges, and performing enough linguistic gymnastics to pass at an ambassador’s reception — and almost at Ascot.
Hutcheson’s large and perfectly understated performance holds the play together as he tries to hide his love for Eliza.
Director (and seamstress) Emma Phillips brings it all together remarkably well for a delightful evening of traditional theatre entertainment that sings and hits all the right high notes.
Choral director Carol Terry is equal to the parallel task of taking the actors’ presently proper mother tongues and regressing them to their guttural roots with all manner of London accents from the 35 cast members using Alan Lerner’s lyrics.
There’s gorgeous costumes, fine dancing and enough British humour to please the most discerning of ears.
And under the baton of Neil ‘Mr. Music’ Barlow and his pit band (on the balcony) Frederick Loewe’s music sounds just like the Broadway hit it was with violins, muted cornets and snappy snare drum riffs.
Filled with a chorus of veteran local actors across the boards ranging in age from 14 to 84 — and including some standout work by secondary leads Liam Craag as Mr. Doolittle, and Nick Kulchar as Freddy — My Fair Lady is certain to be another hit with Rotary audiences as in years past.
Shows run Friday Saturday and Sunday the next two weekends, with matinees the first Sunday and second Saturday.
For tickets, contact the box office at 705-645-8400 or ask your favourite Rotarian.
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