Colorado Mesa University Department of Theatre Arts has outdone itself yet again with its spring production of “My Fair Lady.” Like a clock with all its working parts, every aspect from the intricately designed sets, to the avant-garde costumes, to its talented performers moved in perfect unison.
“My Fair Lady” is a lengthy performance. The first act is over 90 minutes and the second act is about 60 minutes; the play a bit longer than most. As someone who can only watch BBC’s “Sherlock” with subtitles, accents have never been my forte. One could be fearful within the first few acts that they would never be able to understand the heavy cockney accents. However, as time went on, the easier it became to comprehend the thick vernacular.
Every stagehand and prop master, every painter and architect, every single person involved with the setting up the stage is deserving of an award. The massive pieces used to create Professor Higgins’ elaborate study hold such incredible detail that one could find a new, unnoticed element every time the scene changed.
Jill Van Brussel, the costume designer, created the most magnificent costumes. Out of the seven plays I’ve had the privilege to watch at Colorado Mesa University, the costumes for this play are truly extraordinary. The vast amount of petticoats, ballgowns, Edwardian era tuxedos and British women’s eccentric hats at the horse races show Van Brussel’s exquisite eye to detail.
Musicals are a marvel to non-talented folks like myself because the ability to sing on key while dancing and twirling is a skill gifted to only a few. Mr. Higgins’ servants, (WM. Riley Holmes, Alyssa Gose, Katelyn Craig, Mariel Goffredi and Anna Dworkin) were able to dance and sing with such precision and in perfect harmony that it was almost eerie.
Alfred Dolittle, played by Keith McKay, offers a wonderful comedic relief when scenes become tense.
Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics, is played by sophomore Joe Castinado. Being able to show a lot of emotional range is difficult to portray in a character that is blunt as Higgins, yet Castinado’s performance was able to capture a brilliance beyond his age.
Eliza Dolittle, played by fellow sophomore Heidi Snider, is absolutely sensational during her performance. In the opening scenes of “My Fair Lady,” Snider’s heavy cockney vernacular is akin to nails on a chalkboard. Throughout the play, her transition into a high class lady is as graceful as her voice is lovely. Snider is a delight to watch, and hopefully this won’t be the last we see of her in Moss Performing Arts Center.
“My Fair Lady” is a dazzling performance and one students won’t want to miss.
The show runs from Feb. 23-March 4.