My Fair Lady Review

Leeds Playhouse – until 29 June 2024

Reviewed by Sal E Marino


Leeds Playhouse and Opera North have once again created a musical masterpiece with Lerner and Loewe’s widely acclaimed My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. Brilliantly directed by James Brining with set and costume design by Madeleine Boyd, choreographed by Lucy Hind and with phenomenal musical scores directed by Oliver Rundell – My Fair Lady has been a resounding success and brought the magic of musicals back to the heart of Leeds. The whole production was undeniably slick and brimming with high energy in every beat, step and lyric.

Both dramatically and visually effective, My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a poor cockney flower girl who is transformed into being able to pass as a duchess with the help of phonetician Henry Higgins. Katie Bird is simply perfect as Eliza; her voice fills the theatre with that spine-tingling sensation that only very few can achieve. Complimenting Katie’s sparkling performance is John Hopkins portraying Professor Higgins and he brings a different kind of sparkle which is encapsulated in his humour and the chaotic way in which he expresses his supressed feelings. When singing ‘I’m an ordinary man’ to fellow bachelor Colonel Pickering (Dean Robinson), Hopkins totally embodies the part of the arrogant, impatient professor.

Fast-paced and inventive, the cast of My Fair Lady are every inch world-class and give magnificent performances in every role they play. The transformation from street workers to high society socialites is ingenious as it’s done so smoothly with creative props and costumes that take you from scene to scene within seconds. The chorus ensembles are truly impressive and so joyous at times. ‘Get me to the church on time’ fills one glee and you just find yourself singing along and joining the party. Richard Mosely-Evans (playing Eliza’s hapless father Alfred Doolittle) is at the centre of this number and his jaunty moves and cheeky chappie persona just make you smile and chuckle. Another superb characterisation with a beautiful voice is Ahmed Hamad as Freddy Enysford-Hill and when he sings the all-time classic, ‘On the street where you live’, it makes one glow inside with nostalgia.

My Fair Lady bustles with pretty much everything your heart could desire – sing-along tunes, feel-good vibes and spectacular performances from start to finish. Unfettered joy was felt all around the theatre when I saw it and I’m sure it will be the same when you do too.