After a delayed season due to the Brisbane floods, The Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) proudly opened its doors to showcase ‘Pygmalion’ – the play that inspired the iconic musical film “My Fair Lady”. Audience members were taken on a journey to the home of ‘foul-mouthed guttersnipe’ Eliza Dolittle, set in the backstreets of London in the early 1900s.
Each scene in the play was introduced by a roving spotlight travelling along a map portraying the streets of London, and articulate actors who easily transported the audience from scene to scene.
The actress who assumed the character of Eliza Dolittle (Melanie Zanetti) had the audience in stitches with her overly expressive tantrums and neck-straining, perfectly executed “London back alley guttersnipe” accent – the early 1900s English counterpart of today’s “Bogan” accent.
As the show progressed, the audience was captivated and thoroughly entertained by her transformation into an English rose, flaunting her beauty in English couture. Who could forget that red satin gown, the perfectly coiffed hair and white satin gloves in her ‘Duchess’ debut? Eliza’s transformation was a treat for all female members of the audience as it humorously depicted female empowerment, purpose and identity flourishing in the throes of a patriarchal society.
Equally engaging were the actors who portrayed Professor Higgins (Robert Colby) and Colonel Pickering (Bryan Probets). The camaraderie shared between these two unlikely friends was reflective of light and shade, day and night – the “Odd Couple” of London’s High Society. The development of co-dependent and dysfunctional relationships between these three characters was nothing short of delightful and entertaining.
Overall the play was pleasing to the theatre-palate – charming, witty, colourful, enthralling and a total delight. We highly recommend seeing Pygmalion – after all, it was the play that inspired the making of “My Fair Lady”, and who didn’t enjoy that wonderful film?
QPAC, Southbank, Brisbane
NOW, until 27th Nov 2011.
$30-$75 from QPAC website
By Shellie Wilson