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My Fair Lady: A few thoughts from the Director

In November Bryanston pupils presented a fabulous production of My Fair Lady. Here the director, Duncan Fowler-Watt shares his thoughts on the performance.

A production like My Fair Lady is not possible without a huge amount of work from many people - I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to James Henshaw, Tim Pennells, Abi H and the rest of the hard-working, dedicated stage crew who were, as usual, the unsung and unseen heroes behind the seamless scene changes and the wonderful lighting, sound and set.

I would also like to thank the maestro himself, Duncan Emerson, and his magnificent orchestra. For a musical to be magical it has to have beautiful, soaring music and we certainly had that.

But, most of all, I would like to thank my amazing cast, all 58 of them. There were so many outstanding performances – Paris S’ passionate singing outside 27 Wimpole Street, Lucy D’s flawless creation of the brusque but warm-hearted Mrs Pearce, Ottilie T’s marvellously magisterial and matriarchal Mrs Higgins, the slapstick humour of Archie R and Elliot F as Doolittle’s drunk and daft chums and then, of course, there was Doolittle himself: Will F’s brilliant, vibrant, scene-stealing  performance – we will all remember his dancing for many years to come! And finally, the main three characters, Pickering, Higgins and Eliza. Their relationship between each other is at the heart of the show and we were very fortunate to have in our cast pupils with the talent, the maturity and the commitment to capture this relationship in a way that brought out not only the humour, but also the heartache. Harry G’s Pickering was a beautifully judged performance that combined comic timing with warmth and understanding. The part of Higgins is, in my opinion, the most challenging of all the parts and James R's performance was outstanding, conveying with moving and passionate credibility Higgins’ emotional journey from arrogant repression to broken-hearted self-realisation. And finally there were our two wonderful Elizas, Charlotte H and Frankie W. Very different in many ways, but both so convincing in their portrayal of Eliza’s strength, ambition, passion and underlying fragility.

My last word must go to the chorus. No musical like My Fair Lady can come alive without a vibrant and committed chorus and we certainly had that. There were so many memorable moments, the perfectly stiff Ascot Gavotte, the colourful and beautiful waltz, the funny, energetic and joyful Little bit of Luck and Get me to the Church on time.

Many, many thanks to every pupil involved, they should certainly feel extremely proud of all they have achieved.

You can view more photos of the production here.