My Fair Lady
May 13th - 18th 1996
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Audrey H. McL. Raistrick
Musical Director Sylvia Fishwick
Choreographer Glenys Collinson
Eliza Doolittle Vicki Smith
Henry Higgins Gary Williams
Colonel Pickering Harry Lee
Mrs Pearce Joyce Walters
Alfred P. Doolittle Paul Brennan
Mrs Higgins Joyce Richardson
Freddy Eynsford Hill David Perks
Harry Norman Bowers
Jamie Michael Taylor
Mrs Eynsford Hill Jean Maden
Lord Boxington Michael Taylor
Lady Boxington Hazel Gray
Zoltan Karpathy David Wilson
Queen of Transylvania Gillian Raistrick
Constable Wilfred Lea
Chauffeur Paul Duckworth
Mrs Hopkins Yvonne Neary
Flower Girl Carole Brooks
Adrienne Wormald, Norma Wilcock, Elizabeth Williams, Paula Williams, Jane Bickerstaffe, Mary Pycroft, David Raistrick, David Witt
W. Bromiley, B. Cotter, L. Davenport, N. Dootson, B. Haslam, D. Healey, K. Holland, N. McKay, B. Martin, L. Orsman, G. Poole, R. Prescott, M. Steel, L. Swift, E. Williams, B. Merrick, C. Perks, I. Tavener
  • Eliza Doolittle Eliza Doolittle
  • Henry Higgins Henry Higgins
  • Eliza, Harry and Higgins Eliza, Harry and Higgins
  • Colonel Pickering Colonel Pickering
  • Higgins, Doolittle and Mrs Pearce Higgins, Doolittle and Mrs Pearce
  • Colonel Pickering and the servants Colonel Pickering and the servants
  • Pickering, Higgins, Eliza and Mrs Pearce Pickering, Higgins, Eliza and Mrs Pearce
  • Eliza and Higgins Eliza and Higgins
  • Eliza, Mrs. Pearce and Maids "I Could Have Danced All Night" Eliza, Mrs. Pearce and Maids "I Could Have Danced All Night"
  • Chauffeur, Mrs Higgins and Pickering Chauffeur, Mrs Higgins and Pickering
  • Eliza at Ascot Eliza at Ascot
  • Freddy Eysnford Hill "On The Street Where You Live" Freddy Eysnford Hill "On The Street Where You Live"
  • Ascot Ascot
  • Harry, Doolittle and Jamie Harry, Doolittle and Jamie
  • Zoltan Karpathy Zoltan Karpathy
  • Mrs Higgins Mrs Higgins
  • Eliza Eliza
  • The Company The Company

  • Bolton Evening News Review
  • NODA North West News Review
My Fair Lady usually brings to mind the 1964 film version, which respected Bolton film buff Leslie Halliwell described as "a cold transcription of a stage success", although it won an Academy Award as best picture.

Walmsley's version, directed with some style by Audrey Raistrick, was anything but cold, though it did parallel the film in at least on respect - Vicki Smith played Eliza Doolittle very much in the manner of Audrey Hepburn. Eliza as a flower girl - as played by both Smith and Hepburn - spoke in almost incomprehensible cockney, which is as it should be.

After training by the stuffy elocutionist, Professor Henry Higgins, both actresses employed stilted, posh English. Vicki Smith made the transformation perfectly and, furthermore, had a pleasant singing voice. Gary Williams as Higgins was not a carbon copy of the Rex Harrison version. He cleverly made the part suit his own distinctive personality, and talked his way through his songs with excellent timing.

Nor was Alfred P Doolittle given the Stanley Holloway treatment by Paul Brennan. The latter has the lighter voice, but still managed to put over "With A Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me To The Church On Time" in the required manner of the cockney knees-up much to the delight of last night's audience. Harry Lee played Colonel Hugh Pickering with upper-class vagueness and stamped his personality on the part. There were excellent supporting performances by Joyce Walters as Mrs Pearce, David Perks as Freddy Eynsford Hill and Joyce Richardson as Mrs Higgins, and all the smaller roles were well cast and the chorus gave sterling support.

The society's stage staff excelled themselves with the scenery. Mid-show, Professor Higgins' rooms received a well-deserved round of applause. Walmsley, yet again, has produced the top entertainment we have come to expect.

Doreen Crowther
A good strong production from Audrey H. McL Raistrick who was well supported by choreographer Glenys Collinson and musical director Sylvia Fishwick although, once again, I must say that for a show of this stature an orchestra is a must. The producer also appeared to put much emphasis of the dramatic but the singing was, nevertheless quite adequate for the most part.

Vicki Smith was outstanding in the starring role of Eliza. From the sluttish cockney to the elegant aristocrat Vicky had the measure of the character in every department. Vocally she would struggle with an operatic role but was more than equal to the demands of this particular role.

Professor Higgins is a super role on which the late Rex Harrison left an indelible stamp, as did Yul Brynner with the King! Many amateurs mimic these icons but only the brave try their own interpretation. Gary Williams was one such intrepid amateur. He retained the academic aloofness one has come to expect yet his presentation was well-studied and refreshingly new.

Harry Lee was excellent as the bumbling Colonel Pickering. He had that upper class vagueness that one typifies with old colonial buffers off to a tee. Likewise, Paul Brennan oozed East End from every pore as Alfred Doolittle. His was a lively performance and particularly good with 'I'm Getting Married in the Morning' and 'With a Little Bit Of Luck.' David Perks took on what must be one of the most difficult supporting roles in any musical - that of Freddy Eynsford Hill. How does one successfully portray such a wet lettuce? This time we had effective acting but ineffective singing. Other supporting roles were well played by Joyce Walters as Mrs Pearce and Joyce Richardson as Mrs Higgins.

As usual for this society, the sets, particularly the study, were excellent but, for once, I must admit to being a little disappointed with the Ascot scene. The chorus work was generally quite good but seemed to be a little cramped. This might have been partly due to the set but there also seemed to be a marked reluctance for the cast to move past the force-field which seems to operate around many proscenium arches. Overall, a production which was abreast of the high standard set by this society.

Glyn Neary

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