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MY FAIR LADY (article first published : 2006-10-23)

Durban audiences are in for a rare feast of song, dance and glamour with the Playhouse Company's sumptuous new staging of My Fair Lady, created and performed by a powerhouse team. With Steven Stead as director, décor design by Greg King and costumes by Neil Stuart-Harris, the production stars Ralph Lawson as the urbane Professor Higgins and Durban's darling, Carol Trench as Eliza Doolittle, the rags-to-riches flower-seller who is transformed into a high society debutante.

Principal casting also includes Themi Venturas as Doolittle, Frank Graham as Colonel Pickering, Allison Cassels as Mrs Pearce and Vera Clare as Mrs Higgins. The production is presented throughout its run with live performances by the KZN Philharmonic conducted by Graham Scott. Choreography is by Mark Hawkins and lighting design by Michael Broderick.

One of the world's best-loved big stage musicals, with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, My Fair Lady was adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play and Gabriel Pascal's movie Pygmalion. Starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in the lead roles, the musical premiered in New York on Broadway in 1956 and at Drury Lane in London in 1958. It has enjoyed countless stage revivals over the years, and its 1964 movie version starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn has been seen by millions.

Greg King's design concept for the Playhouse production incorporates the elegant imprints, motifs and rich colours that evoke the high vogue of Art Nouveau, in full flower in 1910, the time in which the story is set. Décor depicting London scenes is site-specific so that theatre-goers familiar with the famous city will recognise landmarks that occur in the musical, such as St Martins Lane behind Covent Garden.

My Fair Lady runs from December 1 to 31 in the Playhouse Opera. Pre-booked tickets from R50 to R80 (R55 to R90 at the box office an hour before performances). Booking via Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9596 or 031 369 9540, at Computicket outlets, or online at www.computicket.co.za




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