‘Ello Govna! It’s the Barksdale Theatre’s My Fair Lady!

It’s been almost 100 years since George Benard Shaw first penned Pygmalion. Now the Barksdale Theatre presents My Fair Lady for your enjoyment. You’ll have a lover-ly good time.

You only need one thing to make a great rags to riches story: a lovable main character to root for. Make that a girl with a cockney accent and an adorable smile, and you’ve got yourself a winner. My Fair Lady is a timeless story that’s been retold many times in the hundred years since George Bernard Shaw first penned Pygmalion. It’s hard not to fall in love with raggedy Eliza Doolittle as she stumbles through “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.” And with classic songs like “The Street Where You Live” and “Get Me To The Church On Time,” the musical version is even more memorable. With two incredibly strong leads and a fabulous supporting cast, the Barksdale Theatre’s production of My Fair Lady is just as lovely (er… lover-ly) as can be.

Kristin Wiig lookalike Stacey Cabaj is both wonderfully vulnerable and decidedly strong as Eliza. Her amazing voice lends itself perfectly to classics like “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely?” and “I Could Have Danced All Night”. Countering her charm is the surly Professor Henry Higgins, brought to life in all his stubborn glory by Joe Inscoe. The duo’s backed by a strong cast of characters, especially Jason Marks as Eliza’s boozy, red-nosed father and Suzanne Pollard as the cynical and sassy Mrs. Higgins.

As with all of Barksdale Theatre productions, everything from the elaborate sets to the beautiful costumes gave it the feel of a true Broadway show. But instead of the typical full orchestra, two pianos accompanied the show. While the piano music worked for the most part without feeling too ‘high school spring musical’, it felt insubstantial during some of the dance numbers without a chorus of voices to beef it up. Thankfully those moments were few and far between and the strong talent of the cast overshadowed the quiet music.

If you find yourself needing a little break from the holiday chaos, My Fair Lady at the Empire Theatre is the perfect place to relax and get lost for a few hours in some lover-ly song and dance. I just dare you not to sing along.

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Lauren Grant

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