Reviewed by Emma Legge
I was very excited to see My Fair Lady, presented by the BMOS Musical Theatre Company, at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham last night (21 June 2017) as this was my first show delivered by an amateur dramatics group since I was a little girl. Having seen lots of professional shows in this exact theatre recently I was very keen to see how an ‘amateur’ group could do on the same stage.
A lovely start to the evening was the pianist and singer greeting us as we entered the bar area of the theatre. The Chair of BMOS was milling around talking to everyone about the group and he told us how BMOS encourage talent from the local colleges and universities and both the pianist and the singer were part of this initiative.
The programme lists a large cast and makes for wonderful reading, gone is the list of the many exclusive places the actors have trained at, instead is a list of the jobs they do, the children they juggle and the many shows they’ve taken part in whilst balancing a normal life too!
I’m not sure what I was expecting but was surprised when the curtain went up to reveal a wonderfully designed set so fitting with the storyline. In fact, the company state in their programme that, like all big shows, they use companies to design their set and costumes and it’s all been created beautifully.
Due to the immense heat last night, we were warned of the length of the show, 1 hour and 35 minutes for the first half and about 50 minutes for the second. This filled me with a little dread, the thought of sitting for that long in 30 degree heat, but the theatre had done their best to keep us as cool as possible and the time just flew by with a fast flowing, exciting stage show.
What really stood out for me was the brilliant casting, I really do believe that every single member of BMOS who is in this show, was perfectly cast for their role, with particular mention to Faye Easto who played the role of Eliza Doolittle. Faye really stole the show with her incredible portrayal of Eliza, with her beautiful voice and delivering the dialect scenes fantastically and within the first five minutes of watching the show I had completely forgotten that this wasn’t a main touring theatre company, everyone really was that good! There’s not a member of the cast I don’t feel needs particular mention but the actors of the roles of Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering, Mrs Pearce and Mrs Higgins really were spectacular to watch.
Now to my favourite character – Alfred P Doolittle, played by Patrick Pryce, what a joy he was to watch. I don’t think there’s an actor out there who has enjoyed a role as much as Patrick did! He delivered his two songs, ‘With a bit of luck’ and everyone’s favourite ‘I’m getting married in the morning’ with his wonderful voice and with a whole heap of comedy and ‘drunkenness’ thrown in, I could have watched him all night!
The mixture of acting and singing was wonderful with all the cast acting as well as they sang. The song list included many songs we all know and love and was beautifully accompanied by the My Fair Lady Orchestra made up of members of the Midland Concert Orchestra.
By the end of the show I was a self-proclaimed convert to amateur dramatics. There was absolutely no difference in the quality of acting, singing and pure entertainment delivered by such a professional group who have been performing since 1886 and I’m booking my family tickets for the very next show that BMOS are performing!
Tickets cost from £13.40 to £30.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
My Fair Lady is at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham from 20-24 June 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/birmingham or call the box office on 0844 871 3011.
New Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS