Premier shows of ‘My fair Lady’, the international musical, were performed this last weekend at NCPA’s Jamshed Bhabha Theatre. This spectacular mega show has been produced for the stage by Raell Padamsee’s Ace Theatre Productions and is an absolute scintillating spectacle.
We are all familiar with the film of My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, based on the book by Alan Jay Lerner with music by Fredrick Loewe, that got its inspiration from Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. This stage version is an adaptation of this well loved film. In this musical, pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins is so sure of his abilities, that he takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. His subject turns out to be the lovely Eliza Doolittle, who speaks with a totally Cockney accent, and she is just a poor flower girl in Soho Square in London. She agrees to take speech lessons from Higgins in order to improve her job prospects by learning to “talk more genteel”. Higgins takes a bet with his friend Colonel Hugh Pickering, who is an expert on Indian dialects, that such an experiment will be successful. At first Higgins and Eliza clash, but then form an unlikely bond , one that is threatened in due course by Freddie, an aristocratic suitor. However, ultimately all’s well that ends well.
About the Production
This musical is a state of the art production with extravagant sets, lights, specifically designed costumes, magnificent props and a glorious cast. This show has really been mounted on a grand scale. The sets and costumes are quite outstanding, especially the ones in the scene showing the Ascot races. When this reviewer asked Ms. Padamsee, who had designed the sets and costumes, she said, “I designed the sets and costumes together with Craig Dequadros, who works with me. We are moving towards being a truly independent one stop creative house. It was über challenging, as the look had to be completely authentic 1912, but it was so much fun”. And what a great job they have done with both the sets and the costumes!
Kira Narayanan as Eliza Doolittle, is really top notch, with her exquisite singing and acting, while Varun Narayan is the perfect foil for her with his equally disarming portrayal of Professor Henry Higgins. Both of them are highly experienced performers, as they have played huge roles in mega Disney productions like ‘Alladin’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’. They are a delight to watch as they both bring their own expertise to the stage and do not imitate the main actors from the film version of this musical. Theatre veteran Sabira Merchant, who is known for her acting skills, was an absolute delight as Mrs. Higgins, Henry’s mother, and just perfect for the role! Danish Irani as Colonel Pickering was excellent but it was Shahriar Atai as Eliza’s father Alfred Doolittle, who had the audience enthralled. His dancing and singing were superb.
We are all familiar with the classic songs from this grand musical , like “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely” and “On the Street Where You Live”. So listening to and seeing these well loved and familiar songs being performed, really appealed to the audience and had everyone mouthing the words of each of these well loved songs!
My Fair Lady is directed by Karla Singh, the Choreography is by Chirag Agarwal, and Marianne D’Cruz Aiman is the director for the vocals, and all of them have done a great job in executing their respective expertise. With an integrated cast of over 150 actors, dancers and singers comprising of adults & children from mainstream schools and NGOs, My Fair Lady is undoubtedly a production on an international scale, showcasing the finest performing art forms, with elaborate sets and props and the best technical expertise. Watch out for this jubilant production when this most beloved musical comes alive again in future shows, which should happen fairly soon. Tickets on BookMyShow.