Thursday, February 3, 2011

The style and care in the set (Daniel Lawrence) and the costumes (designer Marcia Hutson and a host of milliners responsible for those fantastic hats) are remarkable. Sitting closer to the stage than usual, I couldn't help noticing how even the painted cobblestones were carefully and even artistically done.

With musical direction by Molly Severdia and David Powell, there’s fine ensemble singing. Director Rene Grinnell pulled it all together. But attention must be paid to that fabulous song and dance man, Bob Wells. From his opening number (“With A Little Bit of Luck”) his performance as Eliza’s father was astonishing. It did better than stop the show—it energized it forward.

Given that this North Coast Rep stage limits any production, and has unfortunate if inevitable consequences, such as wasted downstage space and confined upstage sets in this show. And it won't be mistaken for a professional production, with some obvious musical problems. Nor is it the best musical I've seen there. But...My Fair Lady is a solid NCRT production, with the kind of shining moments that make live theatre unique and necessary.

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