Pygmalion at The Liverpool Playhouse

Posted on 8 March 2017
By Mary Savage
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Almost 103 years after its UK opening night, Sam Prichard tackles Bernard Shaw’s timeless masterpiece with a production of “Pygmalion” at the Liverpool Playhouse which is nothing short of original.  

It’s modern twist on the classic piece in which a larger than life Henry Higgins teaches the ‘common’ Eliza Doolittle to speak proper English so that she is no longer an “insult to the English language”. 

This is furthered by Natalie Gavin’s performance of Eliza in which she portrays the struggle of a working-class northerner who is treated without thanks like a lab rat and a project suggesting that climbing the social ranks has its downfalls.

Gavin beautifully played the “guttersnipe” who has hints of potential to be a well-spoken educated woman, never conforming to the damsel in distress nor a “diva” but instead being a likeable and relatable character portraying both sides of the complex character; a smart streetwise youth and a well-spoken woman, both before and after her transformation, before becoming somewhat robotic to show the toll the treatment has taken on her over the weeks.

Throughout, the audience are challenged and encouraged to question the ever relevant themes of class through the unique use of voice overs and film inserts in the hi-tech take on the play.

Some could argue the modernisation may be over done as it is also reflected in the use of dance/ hip hop music along with the majority of characters dressed in Urban street clothing for costume even after Doolittle’s iconic transformation of which, we see little of her progression. However, you cannot deny the transition we see from her lower class language to proper English is comical, adding shock factor as it is so sudden, our last memory of her having such a strong accent to her now attending a tea party with Henry’s mother and friends. 

The use of complex and captivating dialogue secured the audience’s attention and the wit and humour was enthralling, played with excellence by the entire cast. 

This exciting new take on “Pygmalion” is not to be missed.


The Playhouse Liverpool

Tuesday 7th March 2017

Running Time: 2 hours 40

Director: Sam Prichard

Cast Includes: Alex Beckett, Ian Burfield, Gavi Singh Chera, Flaminia Cinque, Natalie Gavin, Racheal Ofori, Liza Sadovy, Raphael Sowole.