AUDIENCES stepped back in time to the delights of My Fair Lady at Shanklin Theatre.

The highly-respected Island Savoyards took on the classic and performed to more than 2,500 people over the run of shows.

I can't imagine any of them would have been disappointed by what they saw.

It's a familiar tale, of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle destined to remain in the lowest of the lower classes due to her accent, until she is used as an experiment by phonetics expert Henry Higgins, who succeeds in improving her speech so she can pass as a lady.

It is not a smooth journey, and there are moments of hilarity, such as when Eliza disgraces herself by getting carried away at the races, but also moments of horror in the way she is regarded as almost sub-human by Higgins, because of her class and sex.

Eliza is such an iconic role, thanks to Audrey Hepburn bringing her to life on film, it is one of the greatest challenges any actress can take on.

So the Savoyards hit upon a stumbling block when their original casting had to be replaced mid-way through rehearsals. But Alice Burton-Jones stepped forward, and what a joy she was.

The comedic expressions and atrocious accent at the start, through to the emotion and defiance when her journey was complete, was perfection, and her voice so sweet when she sang. Alice, you nailed it.

It was particularly brilliant of the wardrobe team to emulate the famous Ascot outfit from the film, overdone to such splendour, Alice could barely move in it.

David Kast was spot on as Higgins too. He played him with such a pompous air, he commanded the stage. It was no mean feat, all that script makes it a big role to tackle.

He was well-supported by Paul Stevens as Colonel Pickering, a far more sensitive and intuitive soul, who took Eliza under his wing.

John Hammond was funny as Eliza's truly awful father, and Nathan Stubbings was delightfully sweet as the hopelessly-in-love Freddy.

The music also made the show. From the opening chords it was clear having a 17-piece orchestra was a great idea — bringing those famous songs to life — Wouldn't it be Loverly, The Rain in Spain, I Could Have Danced All Night, On the Street Where You Live, and Get Me to the Church On Time.

The set caused a few challenges on the opening night, with the backdrops not behaving on command, but they were stunning all the same, especially the Covent Garden scene.

Savoyards always go big with their ensemble and the cast filled the stage, especially in their flamboyant Ascot outfits, yet still managed to move in time and dance seamlessly.

Mr Fair Lady, directed by Andrew Wilson-Jenner, was another huge triumph for Island Savoyards, and I'm confident there are 2,500 other people in agreement with me on that.