My Fair Lady by Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Willow Grove, PA
December 12, 2017
Review submitted by Anji Cooper of Academy of the New Church
“Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” to see an utterly captivating show full of humor, talented actors and catchy tunes? Well, you’re in luck because Springside Chestnut Hill’s production of My Fair Lady is all that and more.
Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, My Fair Lady is a musical that follows Eliza Doolittle as she becomes the subject of a misogynistic and condescending phonetic professor’s bet that he can turn a lowly flower girl into a lady presentable in high society. The musical’s 1956 Broadway production set the record for the longest run of any show on Broadway up to that time. Soon after, the musical was adapted to a film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, which won numerous awards.
Springside Chestnut Hill did a phenomenal job recreating this well-loved production, impressing with high energy and exceptional acting talent.
Eliza Doolittle (Gracie Lubisky) led the show with charisma and charm. Throughout the performance, Lubisky demonstrated both her beautiful voice and excellent comedic timing. Her transition from a Cockney accent to that of an upper-class lady was impeccable. Sean Terrey skillfully portrayed the ever-patronizing Henry Higgins. He exhibited outstanding acting prowess, commanding the audience’s attention even when having no spoken dialog. Not only was his accent flawless for the entirety of the show, but he also exhibited an excellent ability to express his character’s feelings.
The entire cast was engaging and energetic. Stevie Mack, who played Freddy Eynsford-Hill, especially stood out with his melodic voice and passionate emoting during his song “On The Street Where You Live.” He seemed comfortable while performing on stage in front of the curtain without any set at all. Both Alfred Doolittle (Jack Walker) and Mrs. Higgins (Emma Yeatman) soon became crowd favorites with their humorous performances. Walker’s stumbling, mock-inebriated dances often had the crowd in stitches, while Yeatman’s unceasing jabs towards her son never failed to draw laughter from the audience.
The production’s lighting complimented each scene’s mood, while also doing well to convey the location and time of day. Though some set changes could have been done with a bit more urgency, overall the stage crew did well to effectively move the production’s various props and set.
Springside Chestnut Hill’s My Fair Lady won its audience’s heart while bringing the beloved story to life with its talented actors, engaging ensemble, and constant energy.
Review submitted by Alex Mackle of Eastern Regional High School
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy helped to transfer audiences back to Edwardian London in its ‘loverly’ production of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner’s My Fair Lady.
Originally produced on Broadway in 1956, My Fair Lady is considered one of the greatest modern musicals ever put on stage. The story follows linguist Henry Higgins as he attempts to transform Cockney Londoner Eliza Doolittle into a proper lady in a sort of social experiment. Although ultimately successful, there are a great deal of hurdles along the way, many of which are reminiscent of some divisive class- and sex-based issues we see today. Although there were some minor issues with diction, the cast did a good job, and was incredibly consistent when it came to their various Anglo-centric accents.
Glistening throughout the entire production with his portrayal of Professor Henry Higgins, Sean Terrey absolutely nailed the famed leading role. Clearly a versatile actor, Terrey was able to seamlessly handles both comedic and serious aspects of the role. Opposite him was Gracie Lubisky as flower-girl-turned-lady Eliza Doolittle. She does a first-rate job switching between lower and upper-class accents, truly giving the illusion to the audience that her voice is progressing. Aside from that, her pretty voice tackled the songs in a more than effective way.
Aside from the leads, Emma Yeatman was a standout member of the cast, seen playing Henry Higgins’ mother, Mrs. Higgins. A fairly comedic role, Yeatman’s timing and delivery suited the role well. Additionally, Earl Patterson provided a more than adequate portrayal of Colonel Pickering, another linguist who stays with Henry Higgins and is a frequent voice throughout the show. Also worth mentioning is Jack Walker’s performance as Alfred P. Doolittle, father of Eliza.
Despite working in a less-than-traditional auditorium, the Springside Chestnut Hill Players worked well with their facility. Hadley Sagar and the rest of the lighting crew were strong when it came to blending both conventional and LED fixtures to create distinct washes that reflected changes in mood and location. The crew also did a good job when it came to set changes, as they were executed quite smoothly. All in all, crew held their own during the show.
My Fair Lady was an enjoyable production, even promoting a standing ovation from much of the audience at its conclusion. Charming by nature, the production held together well, while displaying a few strong performers along the way.