Friday, March 17, 2017

Comments on a Lady

My wife and I saw the Julie Andrews directed revival of My Fair Lady last night.

I had gone in with relatively low expectations - I said to my wife it was not really a favourite musical of mine - so I can say I enjoyed it more than I expected.    It is a pretty lavish looking production; all of the actors do very well; the orchestra seemed good, and has quite a lot of work (OK, maybe not as much as the poor musicians who have to do Les Mis); and while the lead actress does sound exactly like Julie Andrews, it didn't come across to me as a studied imitation.

That said, the first (very lengthy) half is more enjoyable than the angsty second half.

And the main issue anyone probably has with the show is one which is not really its fault - as with Pygmalion, its ending is not really satisfying, and it arrives rather abruptly.

If my memory of the play from high school is correct, Shaw added an explanation at the end that Eliza went on to marry dumb Freddy - but it is not part of the play.  Nor is it part of the musical.

Viewed through the modern eye, the ending has the feeling of a return to an abusive relationship - a problem I think we are more sensitised to now than when the play and musical were created.  Which had me thinking, how would a theatre playwright end this sort of story today?

Here's the best I could come up with, so far:  Henry Higgins turns out to be gay, and ends up marrying Colonial Pickering; perhaps with Eliza as the celebrant (her new found career.)    I mean, come on - this is hardly a stretch from all of the talk from Henry about great men are.  :)  And, in fact, thematically, it fits quite well into Shaw's point about morality having nothing to do with divinity, but is, rather, a mere social construct.

If Julie Andrews wants to create real waves with this production, she now knows how to do it.  (I have read that she is in fact in Brisbane, and I think will be at the official opening of the show on Sunday night.  Cool, we are blessed with royalty.)

Update:  interested readers might care to look at this article from The Telegraph, that discusses the issue of the ending of the play, and musical, in some detail.


not trampis said...

Can I confess I never really like Julie Andrews. Perhaps it was the Sound of Music!

Steve said...

Most people love her because of the Sound of Music!

I do hold the movie in high regard myself.

Steve said...

And as a person, I don't think anyone has ever had a bad word to say about her. (And we'll just gloss over her silly attempt to get away from a clean screen image with her topless scene in whatever forgettable movie that was.)

not trampis said...

Some Blake Edwards fiasco