‘Pygmalion’ was expressive.
The universal driving force that all forms of animals share on Earth is communication. As humans, we’ve mastered expressing ideologies, feelings and our place in society. This is explored by Minola Theatre in their re-vamping of the class-system satire Pygmalion.
This iconic tale of transformation tells the story of Professor Higgons – who makes a bet that he can sculpt a working-class woman, Eliza Dolittle, into a fine lady by teaching her how to speak and act like a member of the upper class. But what he doesn’t consider is how this challenge will emotionally affect her ideologies and self-worth.
Direction by Kat Dekker morphed an alternative take on the classic tale. Blending Greek mythology, the classic witty comedy with contemporary theatrical styles and modern music makes for a unique viewing experience. The blocking and scene changes bring attention to modern audiences, which is a nice touch. Dekker’s production gives plenty for the audiences to think about long after the show is finished.
Sound and Lighting by Calvin Baker focused on refined colours and sounds. Adding a touch of class to the story. The set design by Kat Dekker nicely added Greek mythology and minimal stylish furnishings throughout the production.
Ben Snaith, as Professor Higgons, gave an outlandish performance. They took a different approach to the role; instead of being a refined socialite, Snaith was manic, possessive and childish. Sometimes venturing from a certain ideology can be jarring, but Snaith manages to pull off a different take admirably. Bianca Butler Reynolds shines as Eliza Dolittle. Reynolds’s performance shows a superb transformation throughout, with a great use of vocal, facial and body language. Drew Lochrie, as Colonel Pickering, gave a likeable character with a heart of gold wonderfully. Martie Blanchett commanded the stage with her interpretation of Mrs Higgins which worked magnificently when interacting with Professor Higgons. Sandra Harman gave a solid comedic performance as Mrs Pearce. Harman perfectly milked some great witty dialogue and comedic moments throughout.
Glenn Seaby worked a likeable Alfred Dolittle into the show. Seaby’s heavy accent did make it hard to hear at points, but when you could, he knew how to get the audience to laugh with his impeccable comedic timing. Kat Shathena, Ben Postle, and Natasha Lawrence all worked strongly in their supporting roles. Their facial expressions and comedic timing gave some laughable moments in their scenes.
In a world that has such a class divide, it is refreshing to see Minola Theatre step out and give a diverse look into the deep connection we all want in life – and how expressing yourself is more important than being spoken for.
‘Pygmalion’ performs until the 10th of February 2024 at the Ron Hurley Theatre. For more information visit their website.