Last night I had the pleasure to review “My Fair Lady” by the Wellesley Players, a large scale production put on by award winning director Celia Couture, music director Art Finstein and choreographer Kelly Murphy. The show took place at the Arsenal Center For the Arts in Watertown, MA and featured twenty three extremely talented actors and actresses.
Going into the performance, I did not know the show well, so I was free from any previous biasses of my own. I was excited to experience “My Fair Lady” for the first time and was hoping that this company would make me a fan of the show. And in short, they did! From the moment I walked in the building, I was greeted by super friendly members of the company. Everyone was so helpful and nice, which really made me comfortable and more excited for the show.
The production was spectacular and such good quality that I actually questioned whether it was equity or not. Between the amazing costumes, creative lighting, and moving set transitions, I was truly in awe throughout the entire production. Though minimal, the set provided so many relevant props and furniture pieces that I always knew where scenes were taking place. However, I could have done without the large, picture frame like screen hanging from the ceiling. The screen showed images that were related to each setting. I think it’s purpose was to be helpful to the audience, however it was very distracting and took away from the professionalism of the rest of the show.
In terms of the cast, everyone was so incredibly believable throughout the entire show! Only once did someone lose their British accent, and it was just a few words. Whenever I go to shows, I always like to look at the ensemble and see what they are doing because I truly think they can make or break the performance. And this ensemble MADE the performance! I could look around the stage at any given time and they were all completely in character, it was amazing. And most importantly, they all really looked like they were having fun up there, which is alway exciting to see in community theater. Though they weren’t the center of attention, they shined in songs like “With A Little Bit of Luck (Repirse)” and “Ascot Gavotte.” Also, shoutout to the costumer during “Ascot Gavotte,” the black and white costuming was honestly some of the best costume work I’ve ever seen.
The principal actors were equally as talented and perfectly cast. Eliza Doolittle, played by Emma Boroson, was enchanting and did a great job portraying Eliza’s strange antics and personality during “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.” She had these sort of crazy eyes that just worked so well with the character’s weird ways. As the show continued, her vocal display was a bit inconsistent, however her acting was so on point that she was able to make up for it.
One of my favorite parts of the entire show was “With A Little Bit of Luck” performed by David Wood as Alfred P. Doolittle, Gregory White as Harry, and David Kimmelman as Jamie. The trio was absolutely outstanding and hilarious! Their facial expressions were so perfect and the blocking was genius. I have never heard such tight harmonies, or seen such a great display of comedic acting in community theater. Ever. Those guys definitely deserved a standing ovation.
The person that stole the show for me though, was absolutely Anthony Mullin as Henry Higgins. I seriously don’t even know where to begin, I can’t say enough about his performance! Mullin’s comedic timing was perfect, he played a hilarious asshole. I believed every single word that came out of his mouth, and never for a second did he break character. His performances of “I’m An Ordinary Man” and “A Hymn To Him” were intriguing and fantastic. Not to mention, that his interactions with other cast members were equally as believable. From the first time they were on stage together, I truly believed the relationship between Higgins and Pickering (played by David Warnock). The two made a great duo and really carried the show. As the story continued Mullin’s acting only became more genius. Though I really enjoyed his comedic acting, his dramatic acting was also outstanding. His ballad “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” in which he confesses his love for Eliza, was a great display of emotion and talent on Mullin’s part.
I could rave about this show and all of its performers for hours, but I think you need to check it out for yourself! The show continues to run for a few more performances this weekend and next, and its definitely a performance you do not want to miss out on! Congrats to the entire cast and crew of “My Fair Lady” on a fantastic production! I am excited to come back and see more of your productions.