The third evening of theatre we took in was Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre.
Pygmalion was a bit of a similar situation. Of course, I know the play, but I confess I have never seen a production. I've also not read the script since college. I, like most people, am probably far more familiar with the musical version My Fair Lady.
That's a damn shame, but we'll get to that in a minute.
The idea of Everett as Henry Higgins was intriguing, as was seeing Dame Diana Rigg live and in person. Yes, I'm one of the generation at least partially led to sexual awakening by Emma Peel on The Avengers. Otherwise, I went in with a bit of a blank slate.
What I got was a nice black comedy with a bit of a mean streak. A much more interesting take on the subject that My Fair Lady will ever provide. I can't help it, people start singing, and I start to zone out on character and relationships. It becomes pretty things being paraded around the stage, and I think My Fair Lady is exceptionally guilty, especially when this source material is so rich.
Again, I think most people who might take the time to read this probably know the plot of this play, so I'm not going to trudge back over it. Suffice to say that I think the questions this play raises about women, men and identity are still very, very valid. The show felt very fresh.
That said, the man is wonderful with the turn of a phrase, and enjoyed great chemistry with Peter Eyre as Colonel Pickering.
Dame Rigg, however was able to tap into that childish joy and glee with Mrs. Higgins. the show took an upswing every time she entered the scene. A wonderful character, well rendered.
It was also nice, as we moved toward the climax of the show, my mind sticking in elements form My fair Lady, that Pygmalion takes a much darker, and interesting turn. I loved it, and I think I may be outright annoyed with the changes made for the musical. What Bernard Shaw gives us is a story about the true dangers of reshaping and playing with human beings, instead of a simple romantic comedy. When Eliza takes her life into her own hands, and asserts herself, it's an ending that brings the point home, rather than undercutting it with a weakened romantic denouement.
Nice production of a show that I should've paid more attention to before now.