â€œMy Fair Ladyâ€ presented by The King Junior School Ely in the Hayward Theatre was a splendid occasion. The young cast exuded confidence and talent and the characters of this well known musical were brought to life. Eliza Doolittle (Sophie Emms) and Professor Higgins (Oliver Hill) especially were delightfully authentic and dynamic. Sophieâ€™s raucous cries in broad cockney vowels were fantastic. Her outbursts of anger, her strong singing and her interaction with Professor Higgins in the final scenes were outstanding. Oliverâ€™s portrayal of someone way beyond his chronological age was superb. His sense of authority and superiority, his affectations, his stance, his sensitive timing and his excellent singing all contributed to a highly effective and thoroughly enjoyable show.
Colonel Pickering (Leo Banahan) was a cheerful voice of reason for the self-orientated professor and Mrs. Hopkins (Sally Cheng) was a tolerant housekeeper, mindful of Lizaâ€™s needs as well as those of her employer. Mrs. Higgins (Lydia Crussell) encumbered with her wayward son spoke with rare distinction and the mature wisdom of an understanding parent.
One of the most endearing characters was undoubtedly Alfred P. Doolittle (Charles Ewing) whose unique philosophy of life, bereft of moral virtue, coloured his accomplished performance as he filled the stage with delightful cockney audacity.
Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Oliver Kember) was positively charming, his fascination with Eliza credibly and endearingly portrayed.
One of the most notable attributes of this production was the overall effect of every member of the cast contributing effectively to this worthy and highly enjoyable production.
Supported by a strong, vibrant orchestra and by carefully designed staging, lighting, costumes and scenery, this show was exemplary â€“ far in advance of many school events I have seen. Directors Mrs. N. Van Wright, Mr. N. Porter-Thaw and Mr. F. Huntingdon should be well pleased with this fine production.