Review: St Albans Musical Theatre Company's My Fair Lady is 'loverly' at The Alban Arena

PUBLISHED: 11:14 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 November 2019

My Fair Lady can be seen at The Alban Arena in St Albans.

My Fair Lady can be seen at The Alban Arena in St Albans.

Alban Arena

Madeleine Burton reviews St Albans Musical Theatre Company's production of My Fair Lady, which plays at The Alban Arena until Saturday.

My Fair Lady can be seen at The Alban Arena in St Albans.My Fair Lady can be seen at The Alban Arena in St Albans.

From the madness of their spring show Our House to this week's production of My Fair Lady, St Albans Musical Theatre Company have demonstrated once again how versatile they are.

Just one word sums up the company's performance of the classic Lerner and Loewe musical on the stage of The Alban Arena - loverly.

The show which produced such classic songs as I Could Have Danced All Night, Get Me to the Church on Time and, of course, Wouldn't It Be Loverly comes alive in the hands of a talented cast and crew.

And it more than deserved the huge applause and standing ovation at the finale on the opening night.

Director Julia Rufey brings all her experience to bear on My Fair Lady from the casting to the staging and plenty more besides.

She has first-rate support from Gayle Bryans' choreography - particularly when Alfred Doolittle and the ensemble perform Get Me to the Church on Time - and from musical director Philip Joslin and his orchestra.

The star of the show is Nicola Martinus-Smith as Eliza Doolittle, the flower girl plucked from Covent Garden by Henry Higgins to be groomed as a lady.

She is absolutely enchanting in the role with a superb voice that has to take on different timbres as the character develops.

Matthew Gregory gives his usual excellent performance, channeling his inner Jacob Rees-Mogg to play the chauvinistic linguist Henry Higgins.

The scenes where he and Eliza spar with each other are particularly good, and you could really feel the plaintiveness in his rendition of I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face.

Ben Fricke is great fun as the drunken dustman Alfred Doolittle and Oliver Sutton-Izzard, playing the lovestruck Freddy Eynsford-Hill, demonstrates a strong singing voice in On the Street Where You Live.

Tony Bradburn, a stalwart of the company, also warrants a special mention in the role of the old colonial Colonel Pickering.

But as with all SAMTC productions, the real stars are the company as a whole.

Their singing, dancing and acting abilities are evident throughout a long show and never once did their enthusiasm falter.

With their equally dedicated production team, SAMTC can rightly claim to have another hit on their hands.

My Fair Lady runs until Saturday, November 9, on which day there is both a matinee and evening performance.

Tickets can be obtained from the Arena box office on 01727 844488 or via www.alban-arena.co.uk

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