My Fair Lady

‘Fair’ increase - Boston Metro - (Boston, MA) - 8 February 2008

‘Lady’ keeps improving

REVIEW. If you’re a fan of big, old-fashioned musicals, “My Fair Lady” might just be the ticket for you. Cameron MackIntosh’s 50th anniversary production of the Lerner and Loewe classic hits all the right notes with its “loverly” telling of the tale of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins.

Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” “My Fair Lady” is sort of a “Trading Places” for theater lovers.

With a score that includes “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” and “On the Street Where You Live,” all they’d have to do is pretty much show up and sing well to have a hit. But this production does so much more with its grand set, impeccable costumes and acclaimed choreography.

At the heart of this “Lady” is the lady Lisa O’Hare, who delivers an impressive turn as Eliza. Her stunning Hepburn-like entrance at the Embassy ball evokes both the grandeur of another time and the touching warmth of old school, feel-good musicals. Christopher Cazenove isn’t quite as successful with his overly aggressive, shouty Henry Higgins, but stage and screen vet Marni Nixon is impeccable as his society mother.

Part of the charm of “My Fair Lady” is its unapologetic hearkening back to a simpler time, when movies and musicals were magical and make-believe. And though this one might not have the requisite happily-ever-after ending, you’ll certainly leave the theater with a head full of hummable tunes.

‘My Fair Lady’
Through Feb. 17
The Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston
MBTA: Green Line to Park
$30-$91, 617-931-2787