Culture critic Ruth Horsburgh is left disappointed by Son of a Preacher Man, a new jukebox musical based on the songs of Dusty Springfield.Written by Ruth Horsburgh on 14th September 2017
Review: BMOS Musical Theatre Company presents My Fair Lady
Culture critic Will Gillingham is captivated by BMOS Musical Theatre Company's My Fair Lady
BMOS Musical Theatre Company’s production of My Fair Lady, directed by Stephen Duckham, is a nostalgic comfort in an age where alternative theatre is front and centre. Seated in a well-realised Edwardian London, this rendition doesn’t attempt to venture outside of the tried and tested mould of the original play: the costumes are archaic, the orchestra saunters through Tony-winning showtunes, and you’ll find midway through the first act that it’s exactly what you’re looking for. From every practised footfall to every RP dialect, the cast exude professionalism, standing constantly above, and constantly in defiance of, their amateur credentials.
“You’ll even go so far as to wonder whether ‘amateur’ was a misprint in the programme
Captivating from the get-go is the Fair Lady herself, Faye Easto. Easto’s transformation from wailing cockney ‘fla’er’ girl into melodic Eliza Doolittle asking herself ‘wouldn’t it be loverly’ is quick to put to bed any lingering doubt about the calibre of an amateur production. You’ll even go so far as to wonder whether ‘amateur’ was a misprint in the programme. Her epiphanic leap from street urchin to high society, and her subsequent flexing of her bidialectal ability, places Easto as a firm paragon of the Company. Far from underpinning her are her linguistics tutors. The witty interplay between the brash Henry Higgins (Alistair Jolliffe) and the genteel Colonel Pickering (Stewart Keiller) is wonderfully natural, and Higgins’ audacious, at times obnoxious, musical numbers are masterfully handled.
While the leading roles step the production into excellence, it is certainly not achieved without the cohesion of the cast as a whole. Each member is a delight to watch, approaching their roles with the eagerness of those exploring a hobby as opposed to a job, with the chorus being particularly outstanding. From drunken dancing to loftiness at the races, the chorus are a superb complement to the action throughout. Also of merit here is the character of Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Freddie Tibbs), Eliza’s ill-fated suitor. His bold undertaking of ‘On The Street Where You Live’ takes precedence as the hallmark hit of the production, with its reprise in the second act being all too quickly cut short by Eliza’s rare appearance.
Duckham’s My Fair Lady is a gauntlet thrown at the feet of any professional troupe who believe they can do better. The set and costumes are painstakingly intricate, the music is voluminous and uplifting. But the factor which seals this production as an evening-out worth taking is the enlivening aura of everyone involved. The actors are on stage because they want to be, and boy, does it show.
BMOS Musical Theatre Company’s production of My Fair Lady ends Saturday 24th June. The Company are always looking for actors to fill their stages: for any students with a flair for the dramatic, be sure to check out their website at http://bmosmusicals.org/.