Saturday, 5 June 2010

Pygmalion (Royal Exchange Manchester)

Saw this a week ago (when I also watched the films 500 Days of Summer and Up in the Air which were both great films, glad to see people have remembered Tommy has a knack for comedy and George Clooney is just charming charming charming AND talented!)
Anyway, went to Manchester and saw Pygmalion at the Exchange Theatre, it was the first time since I studied the play more than ten years ago that I saw Shaw's ending- well, I didn't see it ten years ago, I read it. Even the Leslie Howard film has Eliza running back to him! No no no. Now that I've finally seen the original ending it makes more sense and it is a much more empowering ending for Eliza, not another little victory for Higgins, fuck you Higgins, you're an arsehole!
Had a bit of a problem getting into it thanks to knowing the script to My Fair Lady off by heart, a few times I sniggered because the actors delivered some familiar lines in sing-song voices. I mean, the script's the same! The songs are practically still in there, just not sung. I got over that quickly though, there were lots of good gags and commentary that Shaw wrote that whoever adapted My Fair Lady chose to cut. All the characters in Pygmalion are perfectly written but Eliza is such a good part, such a brilliant comedy part for an actress! Cush Jumbo, the girl playing Eliza was really good, she was goofy and disgusting in the first act and completely transformed in the second (well, sometimes her hand did stray to pull her pants out of her bum but she always stopped herself), she was quite realistically cold and businesslike at the end, just the way it should be played, like I say, fuck you Higgins.
Simon Robson as Higgins was equally as good; smug, arrogant, shouty bastard, that's what you need. If you have a good Higgins and a good Eliza it doesn't matter about the rest- though I have to say the rest were good too, Freddie was such a complete idiot, he really bit the bowl off the spoon.
Yeah? Yeah? Trying that out as a new idiom.

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