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REVIEW: My Fair Lady is another KATS success, and introduces doubtless future star in lead role

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REVIEW: My Fair Lady is another KATS success, and introduces doubtless future star in lead role

KATS’ latest production is a sell out and it's not hard to see why, especially with a breakout performance from the lead actor Amber Burrows.

This season, KATS is putting on My Fair Lady, the tale of Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle, and English pronunciation-obsessed phonetics Professor Henry Higgins and a bet to pass Eliza off as an aristocrat at the next Embassy Ball. 

My Fair Lady - KATS

Directed by Carey Ryan-Carter and under the musical direction of Keith Motson, it is a show that deserves to be sold out for its whole run, it was fantastic. Hats off to all the actors and everyone behind the scenes because it was a long and intricate show, balancing drama, emotion, passion and social commentary with comedy, but one that I enjoyed every second of. 

Amber Burrows is still at school, currently doing her A-levels, but she brought maturity and excellent comic timing to the role of Eliza Doolittle, she had the whole audience in fits of laughter as well as gripped with emotion throughout the whole performance. She is obviously born for the stage and I can't wait to see what she does in the future. 

Wayne Kenny played Henry Higgins and managed to make the egocentric professor someone you loved to….hate is definitely too strong….get frustrated by. His on stage interactions with his mother (played expertly by Christine Bonner) were hilarious and the dynamic between himself and Eliza pulled the whole production together. 

Amber Burrows as Eliza Doolittle and Wayne Kenny as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady - KATS

Another favourite character of mine was Captain Pickering, played by Jules McColl. Her performance as an out-of-touch but essentially caring and affectionate toff was brilliant from beginning to end, one of the main reasons for my regular laughs.

Wayne Kenny as Henry Higgins and Jules McColl as Captain Pickering in My Fair Lady - KATS Kingsbridge

While Jules expertly played a man, Sally Feetenby shone in a traditionally male role, as Alfreda Doolittle, Eliza’s mother, a character that, in the original screenplay, is Alfred, Eliza’s father. Her high energy and great voice really brought "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me to the Church On Time" to life. 

Sally Feetenby as Alfreda Doolittle in My Fair Lady - KATS Kingsbridge

The rest of the ensemble were truly excellent to a one, but I must mention Nate Fox as Eliza’s admirer Freddy Eynsford-Hill, whose facial expressions and little asides had me creased up, and Sarah Robens as Higgins’ maid Mrs Pearce, who was fantastic throughout. 

Sarah Robens as Mrs Pearce and Wayne Kenny as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady - KATS Kingsbridge

As someone who has never got round to seeing My Fair Lady before, I was very pleasantly surprised by the ending, as I spent much of the play thinking “Eugh she’s going to end up with Higgins isn’t she?”. I was even more pleasantly surprised when I got home and Googled it and realised that despite Eliza staying true to her independence being the ‘original’ ending in the 1912 version by George Bernard Shaw, this was a creative decision by KATS director Carey Ryan-Carter - and I salute her for it. It made me love Eliza Doolittle even more. 

As always with KATS, the set design was inspired. Using only a couple of props and changes on stage to create at least three completely different locations with complete ease and credibility. The costumes as well were beautiful, in fact I might mug someone for the red skirt Eliza wears in “The Rain in Spain” if I ever got half a chance! 

Nate Fox as Freddie Eynsford-Hill and Amber Burrows as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady - KATS Kingsbridge 

The music in this performance is one of the true stars of the show (and there are a lot of them) and hats off to the whole orchestra, led by Keith Motson, they were exquisite throughout. 

As is always the way, I left Malborough Village Hall completely amazed by the talent on show in such a small area as the South Hams, and feel very privileged to not only be able to live amongst such obviously gifted performers and artists, but also to be able to watch them so close to home. 

Congratulations to everyone involved in KATS - another true success. 

My Fair Lady is sold out with a waiting list for tickets, so by all means contact KATS for a chance to see the final performance on Saturday night, 25 March, but don’t get your hopes up - a better plan is to be really quick when they announce their next project, because I can guarantee it will knock your socks off. 

Find out more about KATS on their SouthHams.com listing HERE

 

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