February 22, 2014
Review - My Fair Lady, 19 February 2014, Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre
The film version of this musical, starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn ( featuring the voice of Julie Andrews ) is a perennial favourite, but never truly struck a chord with me despite multiple viewings.
Still, I couldn't pass up the chance to see the stage production, and now that I have, I consider it a much more enjoyable experience.
Featuring an accomplished American cast, gorgeous costumes and elaborate sets, I was enthralled for 2.5 hours, and practically floated out of the theatre when the show ended at 11pm.
Huge credit goes to the wonderful ensemble of actors, in particular, Aurora Florence as Eliza Doolittle, Chris Carsten as Professor Henry Higgins, Michael Brian Dunn as Alfred Doolittle and Ricard Springle as Colonel Pickering.
From the moment Florence sang for the first time - a beautiful rendition of Wouldn't It Be Loverly? - I was hopelessly ensnared. Her lilting, pitch perfect vocals are Broadway standard, and her protrayal of Eliza an absolute delight.
I admit I initially had reservations about Carsten as Higgins. Rex Harrison was tall and slender while Carsten appears more portly. The former's big-screen performance was also more distinguished compared to the latter's rather comical version. Nevertheless, Carsten quickly won everyone over with his powerful stage presence and impeccable comic timing. I'm An Ordinary Man - Higgins' joyous tribute to bachelorhood - made me laugh so hard! :)
Dunn blew us away with his boundless energy - Get Me To The Church On Time was an eye-popping display of stamina and fancy choreography - while Springle's gentle, funny Pickering added just the right balance to Eliza's distress and Higgins' rants.
The magical moment? That's easy - hands down, On The Street Where You Live, sung gorgeously by Daniel Cardenes, who plays Eliza's suitor, Freddy. When the character was first introduced at the Ascot race, I was a tad dubious because the actor ( no offence ) looked too goofy for the part. But the second he opened his mouth and those glorious notes poured out, I was literally in heaven! So was everyone else in the theatre apparently, judging from the raucous applause he received at the end of the song, as well as during the curtain call.
Something else I noticed during the show - the musical director / conductor having a jolly good time! I saw his side profile and caught him singing along on many occasions. Isn't this a marvelous way to live? Doing what you love every single day? Makes me want to quit my job haha. ;)
Thank you, Base Entertainment Asia, for bringing this to Singapore! We're hoping for Oliver!, South Pacific and The King And I in the near future.