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Pygmalion at The Old Vic

Elizabeth Peasley

This is a treat of a play, the cherry on the theatrical cup cake.

It is Edwardian London and 'middle class morality' meets 'undeserving poverty'.

The clever, eccentric bachelor, Henry Higgins, professor of phonetics (superbly created by Tim Piggott-Smith) transforms a young flower seller, Eliza Doolittle (brilliantly portrayed by Michelle Dockery), into a lady that enters high society as a duchess. This transformation is achieved in six months by elocution lessons in his 'phonetic laboratory' with the kindly and gentlemanly assistance of Colonel Pickering (James Laurenson) another expert on dialect.

All the actors without exception bring their characters to life with expert skill; we believe in these people and applaud their humour and humanity.

'Do any of us understand what we are doing? If we did would we do it?' says the inimitable Alfred Doolittle (Tony Haygarth ) in the first act.

These words are most poignant at the end of the story when the consequences of actions are known. When a young woman is metamorphosed outwardly into another person what is to become of her when her feelings are still with the person she used to be?

Although the stylish production at first glance may seem like the class system at large it is the words and feelings of the people we meet who make it memorable.

It is Eliza that tells us 'The difference between a flower girl and a lady is the way she is treated'.

Those of you who know the acclaimed film musical of this play 'My Fair Lady' will be singing again after this wonderful Peter Hall production on stage.

The play is a delight to attend.

Highly recommended.

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