Concert Reviews

‘My Fair Lady’ | Theater Review

Magical, radiant, and superb: these adjectives only start to describe the magnificent musical, ‘My Fair Lady.’ On Thursday, June 8, I had the pleasure of attending Lerner and Loewe’s ‘My Fair Lady’ at Playhouse Square, and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. This nearly three-hour musical full of singing, dancing, and high society charm left me wanting more. 

The story focuses on a poor, cockney, flower-seller named Eliza Doolittle (Shereen Ahmed).  While in the street selling flowers, she overhears an arrogant professor named Henry Higgins (Laird Mackintosh) make a wager that he could teach her “proper English” and make her presentable to the high society of Edwardian-era London. So begins the experiment! Eliza forms friendships, fools high society, and inevitably finds herself. 

I grew up watching Audrey Hepburn rule the screen during her performance as Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady.’ I had high expectations going into this musical and Ahmed had very big shoes to fill. Ahmed, who is one of Broadway’s brightest rising stars and the first woman of color to ever perform the role of Doolittle on Broadway, went out on stage and lived up to every expectation (and then some).

I appreciated how she not only became Eliza Doolittle, but she also made this character her own. Eliza’s character grew, but not without struggle and hard work. A key moment we truly saw Eliza’s character develop during the horse race scene. It became clear the progress she had made with her accent, however, some of her manners were still lacking.

The whole audience was in love with this performance. This was obvious from the “ooos,” “aaahhs,” and laughs that could be heard ringing throughout Playhouse Square the entire show. Ahmed did a fantastic job showing this through body language, accent slipups, and of course the final line in that scene when Eiza screams, “Move your bloomin’ arse.”

Mackintosh’s performance as Henry Higgins is perhaps unfairly overshadowed by Ahmed’s top-notch showmanship, but let us not dismiss his role in bringing the show to life. This arrogant and unintentionally oblivious professor throughout the play eventually sees his errors and slowly changes (with much difficulty at times). This performance is no easy feat and Mackintosh played it flawlessly. He showed the professor’s crazy, rambunctious, passionate, and a bit spastic personality through his acting.

Kevin Pariseau, left, as Colonel Pickering, Laird Mackintosh. as Professor Henry Higgins and ShereenAhmed as Eliza Doolittle, perform in “My Fair Lady.” (Joan Marcus)

The music was exhilarating, to say the least. The performers recaptured some of the most iconic songs perfectly. From “Why Can’t the English” to “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” this cast did a phenomenal job. “The Embassy Waltz,” which was played by a live orchestra led by musical director and conductor, John Bell, teleported the audience into another world. Full of the glitz, glamor, and romance, the audience was pulled in.

The most underrated performance in my opinion was “Get Me To the Church On Time.” This performance by Martin Fisher who played Alfred P. Doolittle (Eliza’s father), was incredible. The cast looked to be having an exceptionally fun time on stage together throughout this performance. It’s safe to say, “I Could Have Danced All Night” to the show’s music.

Run! Run and get tickets before the show closes on June 26. If the outstanding story, incredible actors, and exceptional music still doesn’t convince you, then at least go for the absolutely amazing costumes. Catherine Zuber created magical costumes that captured and pulled us into the play. These costumes were awe-inspiring and time period accurate. 

I was impressed beyond measure and loved every minute of the show. The live orchestra, magical costumes, and amazing cast had the audience all exclaiming, “how kind of you to let me come!” 

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