Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

September 21, 2008

My fair empty theatre

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Theatre

Was it the storm or the Storm in Brisbane that saw Saturday night's performance of My Fair Lady play to a half-empty house at QPAC?

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady

I'd been looking forward to the production as I have fond memories of the movie-version of the hit musical.

I'd booked the tickets ages ago. How was I to know the Brisbane Broncos would make it so far in the NRL finals so our night at the theatre would clash with their game in town against the Melbourne Storm.

Who could have forecast the huge electrical storm that would hit Brisbane the same night.

The line of storms coming up from northern New South Wales threatened a huge dump on the city so we set off early to get the car parked under cover at QPAC in case it hail.

In such a rush to get there I forgot the tickets so at the half-way point on our journey to the theatre we had to return home, driving straight towards the electrical storm heading for Brisbane.

Second time lucky we made it to QPAC, ordered a glass of wine for half-time and settled on one of the open air balconies and watch the spectacular lightning display come towards us.

It was only then we noticed that there were not many people at QPAC. Not the usual crowd you associate with Saturday night on one of the promised big productions.

No queues at the bar, no queues at the toilets and the smallest of queues to get into the Lyric to our seats.

As the music started and the curtain lifted, Reg Livermore, John Woods and Taryn Fiebig were playing to a half empty theatre.

Empty seats

Empty seats

Why? The reviews had all been positive.

Theatre staff told me the crowds had been down for some time.

To be honest, it wasn't the best thing I've ever seen at the Lyric. Livermore and Woods played their parts or Professor Higgins and Alfred P Doolittle well, but Fiebig was very unconvincing as Eliza Doolittle. Shocking accents, both of them.

Nothing against Livermore, but I confess to feeling a bit short-changed when I heard that the part of Higgins is being played by British actor Richard E Grant in the Sydney production.

Maybe Brisbane audiences have been holding off buying their tickets and are heading off to Sydney to see Grant in the show?

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.