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Drayton Players - My Fair Lady

17th to 18th and 24th to 25th February 2006.

From Tony Heath.

My Fair Lady from DRAYTON PLAYERS - February 2006

My first visit to Drayton Village Hall , a fairly small venue for such a grand Show, and it needed to be filled to capacity to pay the expensive royalties. No wonder amateur groups are reluctant to take on My Fair Lady and they usually stumble with the many scene changes necessary. Drayton certainly had a full house on their last night and they had overcome the setting problem by erecting a lower stage in front of the main proscenium. Using a large flat bookcase background (realistically painted) and a mid-set balustrade they created a very creditable Higgins’ study with all the furnishings on the lower stage. Covering this front part of the set with a black cloth at the appropriate times, scene changing was quite slick, with minimal interruption. The reverse of the bookcase became the Doolittle Pub and Wimpole street with three perspective doors getting smaller was very effective. The problem however was that only the first few rows of audience could appreciate the front set action as it was out of sight to the rest of us. Pity! Also the very low proscenium arch made lighting difficult creating a semi-dark area at the very back.

Musically we were treated to a live 12 strong orchestra, at times a little out of tune, but at a very acceptable sound level. They were well rehearsed and I must compliment all with the high standard of singing of our favourite songs in this Show.

Costume wise a mammoth task but very well done, particularly the Ascot scene and the Embassy Ball. However Doolittle in Dustman’s garb was disappointing, he looked too brand new, not at all grubby as we expect.

Of the Players Jon Crowley as Higgins gave a very confident performance and worked well with Peter Jackson, full of pomposity as Pickering. Becky Webber was a well played Eliza, has an excellent voice and she coped very well with the transition from Flower Girl to Lady. Paul Martin was a truly wonderful Freddy, just foppish enough, and gave an excellent delivery of his song On the street where you live. Poor old Doolittle (Andrew Wright) was very wooden with no London accent and his songs Little bit of luck, and I’m getting Married in the Morning lacked the verve and enthusiasm we have come to expect from this character.

Jayne Henderson as housekeeper Mrs Pearce was very good. With her Scots accent she played the part to perfection. Of the other players, Jean Hager as Mrs Higgins and Jeanette Anderton as Mrs Eynsford-Hill coped admirably with their cameo parts and generally the 24 strong Chorus were well rehearsed with their songs and their bit parts. It was nice to see some youngsters in the crowd.

Overall a very enjoyable and well presented performance. It just needed a bigger venue.