Seattle Shakespeare Company’s “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw

“I’m a good girl, I am,” says Eliza again and again in Shaw’s “Pygmalion.” Not only is she good, but everything else is terrific in Seattle Shakespeare’s brilliant production of this well loved play. It’s good from the moment Shaw himself (played by A. Bryan Humphrey) walks on stage to remind the audience that this isn’t a musical, good to its satisfactory conclusion a couple of hours later.

Director Jeff Steitzer has pulled together an outstanding cast. Mark Anders’ Henry Higgins epitomizes the stuffy pedant who hasn’t a clue about human feelings, a man who knows manners but no kindness. R. Hamilton Wright as Colonel Pickering manages to fully support the obtuse Higgins yet reveal enough sensitivity to allow you almost to forgive him. Jennifer Lee Taylor as Eliza the brash and coarse flower vendor transforms herself magnificently into an elegant and tender lady. Jeanne Paulsen is regal as Henry’s long suffering mother, and when A. Bryan Humphrey takes on the role of Eliza’s deal-seeking father humor and irony abound.

The fine acting is supported by a skilled production team. Take special notice of Jason Phillips’ majestic set. With its marble columns, it works beautifully as Covent Gardens in the rain and equally as well as a series of Victorian interiors. Through imaginative use of projected images Phillips establishes period ambiance.

And, of course, there are Shaw’s wonderful lines, his not so subtle reminders of the flaws in a strict class system, and his feminist inclinations. This is also one of his funniest plays. When it’s done as well as it is in this production, it’s theatre at its best.

Through March 11 at Intiman Playhouse, 201 Mercer St., Seattle, (206 733-8222 or www.seattleshakespeare.org)

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