: The story of a cross between a pygmy and an alien. No, I know, but that would be cool, wouldn't it? I saw Peter Hall's production three years ago
but given my subsequent experiences with Hall I thought it might be fair on Shaw's play to see it as directed by someone else, in this case Philip Prowse who also designs a production first seen in Chichester. Tonight was almost sold out; had there not been a handful of empty seats I might have been calling this a radio review, because there's restricted view and then there's restricted view: My dislike of the Garrick, and Nimax theatres in general, wasn't going to be lessened by a £26.50 seat from which less than 1/3 of the stage was visible. Fortunately I moved myself along a couple of seats after the first scene, and could see about 3/4 of the stage. And at least not being able to see Rupert Everett's current face too
well is a blessing of sorts.
Everett's Professor Higgins is suitably distant but has some irritating vocal quirks. Kara Tointon as Eliza is likeable enough, but despite getting the services of the ubiquitous vocal coach Penny Dyer to herself, neither her flower-girl nor her lady are quite convincing. The best performances come from Peter Eyre as the likeable duffer Colonel Pickering, and of course Diana Rigg as Mrs Higgins, although another former Eastender
, Roberta Taylor, also makes her mark as the housekeeper Mrs Pearce. Prowse's production is livelier and funnier than I remembered the play being, and despite a few rather odd performances it's a pretty decent telling of the story, although I'm not sure about the ending he's added on - I rather liked the original's ambiguity.
For the last three weeks of performances, Henry Higgins will be played by Alistair McGowan - just in case anyone goes and thinks that's just what Everett's face looks like that week.Pygmalion
by Bernard Shaw is booking until the 3rd of September at the Garrick Theatre.