July 1965 - Jane at the Palace Theatre, Watford, where she is playing Eliza Doolittle in 'Pygmalion'.
As for the critics of Jane?s performance, according to the Watford Observer?s reviewer ?R.M.? it was a veritable tour de force.
In the paper of July 9, 1965, he wrote the following review: ?Any doubts in anyone?s mind whether Jane Asher?s sole right to fame is her boyfriend will be killed stone dead if that person visits the Palace Theatre during the run of Shaw?s ?Pygmalion?.
?There they will see this 19-year-old ?veteran? portray every mood of the central character, Eliza Doolittle, so realistically that each time she leaves the stage the audience is left waiting for her next entrance.
?Shaw?s play traces the efforts of Professor Higgins, a student of people?s speech, to train a young cockney flowergirl into the manners and speech of a duchess, and the effect such a dramatic change has on the girl.
?This change, and its effect, are the most memorable points both in the play itself and in Jane Asher?s performance.
?Shaw himself admitted that his Professor Higgins owed something to a real student of phonetics he knew.
?Higgins must be a difficult part to play, as he is rarely off-stage and likes the sound of his own voice.
?Ian White had obviously worked hard in this role and it certainly paid off.
?Shaw was a great master of characterisation and this ability is well demonstrated in the play by his cockneys, in particular Alfred Doolittle, admirably played by Kevin Lindsay.
?It may have been my imagination, but I thought I detected a tang of Mr Lindsay?s native Australian accent at one point.
?Another very versatile member of the Palace team is William Simons, who played Colonel Pickering with a number of small touches which bring a character to life.
?I once called Jeremy van Bunnens inaudible, but in recent appearances, such as a bystander and a policeman in ?Pygmalion?, he has been just the opposite.
?In short, the opening night will not be the last time the ?house full? notices are put up during the run of this play.?
In a separate story in the same edition of the paper, headed ?Jane is a big hit as Palace ?Eliza??, the Observer reported: ?There have been ?quite phenomenal? advance bookings to see Jane Asher in the second week of Shaw?s ?Pygmalion? at the Palace Theatre, said the theatre?s public relations officer Mr John Stanley this week.
?Mr Stanley told the Observer that Monday evening is a sell-out and both houses for tomorrow (Saturday) [July 10, 1965] are almost sold out.
?The schools? matinee on Wednesday afternoon is also sold out, he said.
?Large numbers of block bookings are coming in for tonight (Friday) he said, adding that the theatre was expecting to use the ?House Full? notices outside the building on several other nights as well.?
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