- OnStage Massachusetts Critic
Peterborough, NH - George Bernard Shaw’s classic comedy Pygmalion tells the story of flower girl Eliza Doolittle whose life is transformed by Professor Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering as they take on the challenge of turning the common, ordinary girl into a proper lady of British society. The cast and design team lead by director Gus Kaikkonen take the intimate theatre space and nicely create London circa 1911. The pleasing scenic design by Charles Morgan is the most complex and transformative design of the season and the transitions were, overall, well executed by the cast and crew. The lighting and sound design by Kevin Frazier, costume design by Jane Stein, props design by Jessica Ayala and wig design by Gerard Kelly were wonderful, each in their own right, in creating the world of the play.
Eliza Doolittle played by Karron Graves was insufferable and obnoxious at the start, but that made her transition into a lady even more extreme and remarkable. Graves nicely captured the many emotional changes of Eliza’s development and her performance was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. Colonel Pickering was wonderfully played by Michael Page who portrayed the very proper gentleman with high class and a bit of humor. Greg Wood superbly played Professor Henry Higgins. His portrayal was sharp, as Higgins was boorish, unwavering and clearly set in his ways. Mrs. Higgins, mother to Henry, was fantastically played by Dale Hodges with dry and witty humor. The interactions between Hodges and Wood were wonderfully realistic and very amusing to watch. Kraig Swartz was terrific as Alfred Doolittle, Eliza’s self-serving, scheming yet charming father. His mannerisms and characterizations of the English bloke were highly entertaining and he was a clear audience favorite throughout the production.
Though the overall production was enjoyable, there were a few line mishaps on this night of the run, and at times, the set transitions were rough. As the audience watched act two come to a close, the end felt unfinished and seemed anticlimactic. Pygmalion plays on the Peterborough Players stage, 55 Hadley Road, Peterborough, NH, until August 14th. For tickets call the box office at 603-924-7585 or check out www.PeterboroughPlayers.org
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