Catch My Fair Lady at the Cambridge Arts Theatre
Written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, this timeless musical – which runs in Cambridge until Saturday – is based on George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion.
Performed here by the Cambridge Operatic Society (CaOS), this delightful and heart-warming story follows the blossoming of feisty but lovable Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle into the polished, sophisticated lady she was always meant to be – under the guidance of the demanding Professor Henry Higgins.
Taking centre stage as Eliza is Eleanor Bogie who, at the age of 16, brings an assured level of energy and confidence to the demanding role that belies her tender age.
Instantly engaging as the spirited flower seller, the actress, who attends Hills Road Sixth Form College, also possesses an outstanding singing voice and makes the transformation into a fully-fledged lady of standing with great warmth and humour.
Indeed, so good was her delicately poised and restrained interpretation following Higgins' tutelage, that it left one with a feeling of nostalgia for a gentler age where good manners and polite, civilised behaviour tended to be considered more as something to aspire to.
All of the actors did well, with special mention going to Jeremy Warbrick as the strict but ultimately kind-hearted Henry Higgins, Samantha Abbasi as the put-upon housekeeper Mrs Pearce and Ian James as Eliza's father, Alfred.
Lake Falconer did a very good job as Colonel Pickering, though his ill-fitting waistcoat was a little off-putting.
The sets were impressive, the costumes for the most part detailed and eye-catching and the songs as hummable as ever, my favourites being Wouldn't It Be Loverly, On the Street Where You Live and Get Me to the Church on Time.
My Fair Lady is on at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday (January 19).
The show starts at 7.30pm, with a matinee performance today (Thursday) and Saturday at 2.30pm.
Tickets: £18-£33 (all ticket prices include a £3 per-ticket booking fee)
Box office: 01223 503333 or cambridgeartstheatre.com