THE AUDIENCE at Droitwich’s Norbury Theatre were transported back to Edwardian London where the class divide seemed wider than it is now.
The role of Eliza Doolittle was perfect for lead performer Beth Smith, enabling her to demonstrate her vivaciously versatile vocal range.
‘I’ve grown rather fond of her’, the words of Mrs Higgins (beautifully played by Anne Lane) echoed all our sentiments as we willed the Cockney flower girl-made-good to make a success of her life – those stirred emotions testament to Smith’s performance.
Elsewhere you will struggle to find a more expressive face than Tam Weir as Alfred Doolittle. The exuberant dustman gave a super showing and the fantastically choreographed ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’ was arguably the highlight of the evening, leading to plenty of hysterics in the audience as he prepared for his special day.
Andrew Bartlett as Prof Henry Higgins and Andy Brown as Colonel Pickering complemented each other well with the banter between these terrific toffs not only moving the story along but also making for some extremely entertaining scenes.
The supporting cast, including Mrs Higgins, Freddy (Frankie Blincoe-Deval) and Mrs Pearce (Teresa Bufton) were all strong in their roles, allowing those taking centre stage to shine.
The set was clever too, allowing the action to seamlessly switch between areas of London, Higgins’ study, outside Higgins’ house and even Ascot racecourse.
The latter, striking in its predominantly black and white appearance, provided the backdrop for the biggest laugh-out-loud moments – when Eliza lets down her posh guard at the races, revealing her real Cockney roots.
The faultless orchestra and overall direction from Glynis Smith has to get a mention as well on what was a bloomin’ marvellous night (or should that be a ‘spiffing evening’s entertainment) at the Norbury.
The next performances at the Friar Street venue are Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, and from next Thursday to Saturday, June 27 to 29.
The curtain opens at 7.30pm each night with matinees at 2.30pm on the Saturdays.
Tickets are £15 (£13 concessions), available by visiting norburytheatre.co.uk or by calling 01905 770154.