Former Wellington School pupil Carly Bawden is heading for stardom in her role as Eliza Doolittle in the Sheffield Crucible’s production of ‘My Fair Lady’ which opened last month. The show is hotly tipped to transfer to the West End having received rave reviews in national newspapers.
The DailyTelegraph said her performance was “remarkable. A lovely voice and entrancing combination of vulnerability, spirit and killer comic timing make her the jewel at the heart of this dazzling show”. The Independent called it “a brilliant all-round portrayal. Her comic timing, singing, dancing and stage presence were all faultless and earned her a joyous standing ovation.”
Carly was chosen from over 60 candidates for this latest revival of the evergreen musical. In a role which propelled Julie Andrews to new heights of popularity in the 50‘s and in which Martine McCutcheon starred in 2001, she plays the original “Cockney sparrow” flowergirl who is transformed for a bet into a convincing aristocrat by Henry Higgins, played by Dominic West – most recently seen on TV in ‘The Hour’.
Wellington School’s Director of Music, Andrew Trewhella, said “It was always clear that Carly had star quality, allied to ambition, drive and determination. Her roles in musical theatre at school included Eponine in Les Miserables, the Baker’s Wife in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods,Lily in Annie and Gloria in Return to the Forbidden Planet. It was a pleasure to help her prepare for drama school auditions and we were delighted when she won a scholarship onto the Music Theatre course at GSA. “
Carly left Wellington in 2006 to train at the Guildford School of Acting, graduating in 2009. Since then she has appeared in London in ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ and it was during this production that she came to the notice of its Musical Director Nigel Lilley, who also directs the music of ‘My Fair Lady’.
The show is particularly demanding, both physically and vocally – Martine McCutcheon’s voice actually failed under the strain and she had to withdraw from the production. To keep in the necessary shape during the six week Sheffield run – with two performances on Saturdays – Carly has replaced alcohol for endless cups of tea and all recreation for steam baths and sleep. With such a heady combination of will-power and sublime talent, seeing her name in West End lights is surely guaranteed.