Rousing clash of social classes

Recite your vowels, a-e-i-o-u.

That line is repeated over and over again to audiences during the three-hour production of the American hit musical My Fair Lady.

But don't worry, it's not an English lesson of any sort, despite the presence of an almost caricature-like phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Chris Carsten) who is obsessed with speech.

Instead, My Fair Lady is a delightful and classic musical with a witty script that leaves you in stitches, with catchy songs to go with it. It's no wonder it has been called the greatest musical of all time.

Everything in it practically screams "classic" - from the preppy costumes to the exquisite set and meaningful music - it's a picture-perfect portrayal of London in 1912 in all its glory.

The show begins with a young Cockney girl Eliza Doolittle (Aurora Florence) selling flowers outside an opera house when she realises Higgins is hiding behind a pillar taking notes on her speech.

Although initially offended by his arrogant nature, she eventually agrees to be part of his bet that he can change her working girl accent into one of a high-born lady, in hopes of making a better life for herself.

Of course sparks fly as Higgins continues to treat her like a member of the lower classes, even after she masters a "proper English accent". It results in the unusual love story between two bickering individuals.

At some points in the show, the plot borders on draggy and gets a tad boring, especially in the second act, but picks up with every appearance of Eliza's father, Alfred Doolittle (Michael Brian Dunn).

His fast-paced songs like With A Little Bit Of Luck and Get Me To The Church On Time, set to the skilful lively choreography of Denis Jones and with the assistance of an energetic cast, are much welcome breaks of light-hearted humour in the three-hour show.

And Florence's performance is commendable as well. The 24-year-old proves to be a formidable force in the face of inevitable comparison with her predecessors Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn for her role as Doolittle.

She effectively holds her own and delivers a hypnotising performance with her clear sweet vocals, to the point where you'll be sure to hum Wouldn't It Be Loverly all the way home from the theatre.

My Fair Lady runs at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands till March 2, from Tue to Fri at 8pm, and on Sat and Sun at 2pm and 8pm. Tickets cost $95 to $195. Log on to for more information or to purchase tickets.

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