Eliza Doolittle, ein armes Londoner Blumenmädchen, trifft Henry Higgins, einen angesehenen Phonetiker. Dieser wettet mit seinem Freund Pickering darum, aus Eliza eine Dame machen zu können. Am Ende gewinnt Higgins, nachdem Eliza als Herzogin in die feine Gesellschaft eingeführt wird und so ihre Fähigkeiten unter Beweis stellt. Für Eliza war dies allerdings nicht nur eine Männerwette – ihr gesamtes Leben hat sich mit einem Mal verändert.
PYGMALION is a masterpiece of English (or Irish!) dramatic literature. Shaw explores complex themes with a lightness of touch, warmth, and humour. Professor Higgins is a both a misogynist monster and a blunt pursuer of truth in a world of oral hypocrisy and s class snobbery. His attempts to transform the poor flower seller, Eliza, into a Duchess for the day are both a triumph and a personal disaster; for the bachelor-professor comes to depend and perhaps adore his student, whilst the student surpasses her teacher and arrives not just at an understanding of society but of the role of women in that society. Eliza is a superb creation, a proto-feminist in a misogynist age (so what has changed?) and a class warrior who takes no prisoners but achieves all of this with a smile. Indeed, the play is full of wise woman and foolish men, which in the world of ‘hash tag Me Too’ is a good place to start a play.
TNT theatre, directed by Paul Stebbings, transforms this script from a mountain of words into a dynamic and action packed social comedy. Music and above all dance and stylised movement create an accessible and fast-moving comedy. The dance of words is transformed into the dance of life and the audience are carried away is a dizzy whirl of laughter, love, folly, and wisdom. In the hundred years since George Bernard Shaw wrote PYGMALION the world has changed because our values have changed, (and mostly for the better). PYGMALION not only reflects that change with wit and poise but has been part of that change. It remains, rightly, one of the most performed and loved pieces of dramatic literature since Shakespeare.