Review: Woodland Park Players' production of My Fair Lady is a 'joyous assault'

Monday, March 25, 2024

My Fair Lady
Woodland Park Players
at Shoreline Community College Theatre

By Bruce Scholten
Some community gatherings are commendable but as forgettable as school plays with other people's children. Other community gatherings are historic, like the stabbing of Julius Caesar in Rome. Like the latter, showgoers are still discussing the denouement of My Fair Lady, directed by Christopher Nardine for Woodland Park Players.

Based on Lerner & Loewe's 'My Fair Lady', book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, and music by Frederick Lowe, this production's provenance is rich. Some audience members know the original effort was directed by Moss Hart. More know it is adapted from George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play, or have seen Gabriel Pascal's 1938 movie 'Pygmalion'. 

What marked this Shoreline production as the best seen by this reviewer in five decades, was the talent of actors, singers, dancers and full orchestra in a dramatic gestalt.

Not that there weren't a few laughs, too. But the fierce spirit - and voice - of Amanda Cirie as Eliza Doolittle, a Covent Garden flower girl whose Cockney diction is coached into a duchess-like mien by her upper class 'betters' is unforgettable. Mike Boyle plays posh phonetician Professor Henry Higgins - on a bet with his roommate Colonel Henry Pickering played by Peter Heinrich.

All the leads are strong, but expectations that Higgins would emulate 'sexy Rexy' Harrison of the 1964 Pygmalion movie were non-starters. This professor is more nuanced. So is director Chris Nardin's glimpse of the ultimate relationship between upper class Higgins and the 'guttersnipe' street urchin he passed off as a duchess - then cruelly ignored. Whereas some Seattle art may be analyzed vis-à-vis the LGBTQ spectrum, this might be explained in terms of autism.  

Opening night on March 22 was a joyous assault by the stars, ensemble players, dancers choreographed by Kate Kingery, and Woodland Park Players production team founded by producer Linda Joss, working with music director Paul Linnes.

You still have time to buy tickets for the March 29 and 30 shows!

Don't forget to load up on drinks and candy at intermission - because WPP donates profits to youth theater. Pssst! Parking is free at Shoreline College Community Theater.


Anonymous,  March 25, 2024 at 5:41 PM  

I’m intrigued by this review! Though I must say I’m failing to grasp the implication of your penultimate paragraph; perhaps some context was edited out? Regardless, you make it seem quite the experience!

Linda Joss, Producer,  March 25, 2024 at 5:47 PM  

Thank you so much for your well written review, Bruce! This is our first one :) Our company is loving reading it! We especially appreciate the title, A Joyous Assault! Thank you so much!

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