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My Fair Lady – CAODS, Civic Theatre, Chelmsford

My Fair Lady is a traditional musical which has been performed over and over again by so many societies. As an award winning society it was always going to be interesting to see what Chelmsford Operatic Society would do with such a life long favourite.
I have to say I was a little disappointed as I had hoped that I might see a fresh spin on the show but nevertheless what I saw was still a great show.

John Sullivan was excellently cast as the controlling yet charming role of Professor Henry Higgins. He displayed a strong vocal interpretation of the role and communicated so well the bachelor with a hint of sulky schoolboy and alongside him was Kevin Abrey as Colonel Pickering who was the epitome of the role and was a complete joy to watch all evening.
Joanne Quinney as Eliza Doolittle seemed to struggle with the early stage of Eliza as her accent seemed to roam between cockney and Brummy and her stance and acting was all rather uncomfortable to watch. However, once we reached the Rain in Spain number Joanne seemed to find her stride and from that point onwards blossomed into the role.  She has a delightful singing voice and took the role from downtrodden to socialite to the powerhouse who can stand up to Higgins.

The set itself was dealt with superbly by the backstage crew with swift and quiet scene changes and in addition the costumes were a perfect complement to the rest of the show.
Barry Hester as Alfred P Doolittle really kicked the show into life with his first number ‘A Little bit of Luck’ – he was cheeky and animated and was superbly supported by the company. By the time we got to his second number Barry was in full flight and was the highlight of the show.

Kieran Bacon was delightful as the love-struck Freddy Eynsford-Hill, rather than a somewhat drippy performance this was a stronger Freddy who was very believable.
Mrs Higgins was played by Lynette Sullivan, Lynette certainly looked the part in fact she looked far too young to be Higgins Mother but putting this aside she was warm and engaging and had good stage presence.

The company numbers were full on and delivered well with lots of attention to detail and the company itself delivered everything that you could ask of them.
All around this was a great show and will be hugely appreciated by all who are fortunate enough to see it.
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