Bristol Hippodrome
BLOC My Fair Lady

September 2017

This week, My Fair Lady is charming audiences at The Bristol Hippodrome with its subtle wit, timeless elegance and heart warming score.

Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and brought to you by BLOC Productions, this Tony Award winning musical tells the story of Edwardian flower girl Eliza Doolittle as she seeks to change her lot in life by improving her vocabulary and learning to be more ladylike.

She does this with the help of two professors of linguistics and confirmed bachelors, Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering, who go as far as to bet that by the time they’re through, she could be passed as a Duchess at the Embassy Ball.

As the story unfolds, we see not only Eliza’s miraculous gentrification, but an unexpected change in Higgins too, as the pair learn more from one another than they ever expected they would.

BLOC Productions is a local company with a lot of spirit. Known for their large ensemble, the group were able to deliver well known songs such as Wouldn’t It Be Lovely and With A Little Bit Of Luck authentically and with great enthusiasm.

Charlotte Hunter as Eliza was true to the character once famously portrayed by Audrey Hepburn and extremely likeable. Her singing was excellent and it was a relief to watch a true talent on stage rather than an X Factor reject so often seen in these sorts of roles.

Chris Parslow as Colonol Pickering was also a joy to watch, as was Simon Vardakis as Eliza’s cheeky father, Alfred Doolittle.

Peter Cottell as Henry Higgins sang excellently and was extremely entertaining but failed to deliver his lines as astutely as hoped. What’s to love about Higgins’ character is his dry humour. He is supposed to convey his punchy one-liners and hilarious invective with a paradoxical air of charm, but this didn’t quite come through. It was almost as though Cottell was trying so hard to remember his lines (while forgetting them on occasion) that the jokes didn’t quite happen, even though the dialogue was very much there.

He did, however, work well alongside Jenny Foster who played his exasperated mother Mrs Higgins. It was her that reminded the audience of how ill-mannered her son could really be, and drew attention to the irony that it is him creating a lady from what he described as a ‘squashed cabbage leaf’.

As you would expect from opening night, there were a few glitches, all of which were forgivable.

However, there was an odd moment when the audience thought there was an interval when in fact, the set was merely changing to get ready for the next scene.

As the screen came down following Eliza’s powerful rendition of I Could Have Danced All Night, everyone clapped and chatted and began to snuffle towards the bar before it was apparent Higgins and Pickering were on the stage in full swing.

It was a tad awkward watching people sneak back into their seats with red faces, and perhaps something director Robbie Burns needs to look at.

Saying that, the set and costumes were brilliant and apart from this one potential timing problem, audiences were noticeably impressed by the recreation of London’s busy streets and the vast affluence portrayed in Higgins’ study.

Overall, BLOC Production’s My Fair Lady was filled with sincere moments of joy and a vast amount of intelligent comedy, making it a ‘bloomin’ lovely’ night out for anyone.

Tickets are on sale and the show is due to run until Saturday.

Emma Rowlands

Wouldn't it be loverly


PREVIEW: Tickets are now on sale for My Fair Lady at the Bristol Hippodrome this September.

Bristol's own multi award-winning production company, BLOC Productions, welcome you to their latest musical sensation, following recent highly acclaimed productions of Sister Act, Sunset Boulevard and Fiddler on the Roof.

Winner of six Tony Awards including best musical, My Fair Lady sparkles with wit, elegance and romance, telling the story of an Edwardian cockney flower girls transformation into the pride of London society.

BLOCs beautiful new production will transport you from the streets where you live to the flower markets of London, the racecourses of Ascot and to the glittering heights of an Embassy Ball where everything is Absolutely Bloomin Loverly.

BLOC enjoys a well-deserved reputation of staging spectacular musicals at The Hippodrome, with outstanding local principal actors, large and dynamic choral ensemble, and full-sized live professional orchestra.

Musical numbers include On The Street Where You Live, Get Me To The Church On Time, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, With A Little Bit Of Luck and I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face. 
Full of lavish sets and beautiful costumes, My Fair Lady is a jewel in the crown of the great American musicals, written by Lerner and Loewe (Brigadoon, Camelot and Gigi) and based on George Bernard Shaws Pygmalion.

Susanne Donovan, Chairman of BLOC Productions chairman Susanne Donovan said: "Last years production of Fiddler On The Roof involved a huge company of more than 80 adults and children, so for 2017 we wanted to stage another large-scale musical to be a platform for the amazing depth of acting, singing and dancing talent we have in BLOC.

"My Fair Lady was the obvious choice and we are very excited to be bringing it to the Hippodrome, our Bristol home for more than 60 years, in September."

My Fair Lady plays from Tuesday to Saturday, September 26-30 at 7.30pm with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at  2.30pm.

Tickets: from £16.90 with concessions available.

Click HERE for more details.