'Cockneys' a far cry from the Bow Bells

TAKING a Lunar New Year break in Manila, Keeping Posted was able to catch up with the Philippine Repertory's exhilarating production of My Fair Lady, the show that at least two separate parties in Hong Kong are desperately trying to bring over here.

With its class-ridden nuances (proving the adage that every time an Englishman opens his mouth another Englishman promptly despises him) the play should go down a treat in the territory where the sun is about to set on a last dwindling colonial era.

Petite Lea Salonga, of Miss Saigon fame, turns in a smashing performance as flower girl Eliza - her cockney accent so authentic you would have sworn she was born, not in Manila, but within the sound of Bow Bells in London's East End.

That went for the enunciation of the entire cast. At times it was hard to imagine that you were listening to Filipino performers.

On stage at the Meralco Theatre in Pasig were upper-crust accents that could bring the traffic in London's Sloane Square screeching to a halt. Or send the waiters scurrying in the gentlemen's clubs around Whitehall.

Yes, siree. The British Empire is alive and well and currently manifesting itself on a stage in Manila.

But that's, of course, if we discount the Hong Kong Club.