THE play that inspired My Fair Lady, the musical that’s been such a hit with Crucible audiences, is at the University Drama Studio in Sheffield next week.
The Company are performing George Bernard Shaw’s classic comedy Pygmalion, which has the same storyline of linguistics experts Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering trying to pass off Cockney flowergirl Eliza Doolittle as an Edwardian society lady.
They try to achieve this by refining the way she talks but forget that what Eliza says, not the way she says it, can often give her away.
The play is very funny, with the unconventional Higgins and Pickering causing mayhem and feisty Eliza fighting against them, with clueless high society family the Eynsford-Hills thrown into the mix.
However, it has a serious side, looking at the harsh class and social system of Edwardian London and the second-class position of women in that society.
Musical-writing partnership Lerner and Loewe adapted it as My Fair Lady and it became a big hit, both on stage and as a 1964 Hollywood film that starred Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison as Eliza and Higgins.
The Crucible revival, starring Sheffield’s Dominic West, has won standing ovations, especially for young actress Carly Bawden in the title role. It continues until January 26.
Director Alan Wade said; “This is not Cinderella, and there are many pitfalls along the way. The play takes a wry look at the class system of the time and much of the humour stems from the clash when the two societies meet.
“Above all, this is a very accessible and entertaining play. Just right to cure the post-Christmas blues.
“Although I think My Fair Lady is wonderful and it does adapt some of Shaw’s lines for the libretto, I think the play allows the cast to explore the characters more deeply and enables the audience to think about the issues involved, while enjoying the comedy.
“Pygmalion is a cracking good story, with brilliantly drawn characters, written with great humour by one of the foremost playwrights using the English language. Need I say more?”.
Just that she show runs from January 16 to 19 at the venue on Glossop Road, near the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Tickets cost £8, or £5 for concessions, and are available from the c ompany box office on 0114 201 0090, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.thecompanysheffield.co.uk