Review: My Fair Lady at the Arts Theatre

Siobhan Godwood reviews My Fair Lady at the Arts Theatre

If, like me, you immediately picture Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison when you think of My Fair Lady, then this production of the Lerner and Loewe classic by the Cambridge Operatic Society will change that forever. Jeremy Warbrick and Eleanor Bogie truly make the roles of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle their own, and their performances are enchanting. 

The show gets off to a wonderful start with one of the high-energy ensemble song-and-dance routines that make this musical so much fun. It’s long, at almost three hours, but it never drags, with fast-paced changes of scene and pace throughout, as well as beautifully-handled shifts from moments of high comedy to ones of real emotion.

I’m sure that most of the audience were familiar with both the storyline and the songs, as the film is one that almost everyone has seen. So it’s to the credit of the cast that the witty, snappy script and wonderful song lyrics were delivered with such originality that they frequently raised big laughs and spontaneous bursts of applause.

As well as the two leads, other performances of particular note are from Ian James as Eliza’s father, Alfie Doolittle, and Sam Fuller as the lovelorn Freddy.

Despite its length, this is a production that will appeal to audience members both young and old, and for me was one of the most memorable shows to come to the Arts Theatre in recent years.

My Fair Lady is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday 19 January, with shows at 7.30pm and a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday.