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Answer 138. The musical from Pygmalion was My Fair Lady.


Julie Andrews starred in the original Broadway production. Audrey Hepburn couldn’t sing, but starred in the film version because she had more box office clout. Julie Andrews had to make do with The Sound of Music instead.

Mayfair is a posh, upper class part of London. Cockney flower girls pronounced it ‘My Fair’, hence the show’s title.

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Theatre RoyalThe Theatre Royal in Drury Lane dates from 1663 but was rebuilt in 1812 after a disastrous fire. To celebrate its grand reopening, King George III came to see a show.

The King was old, frail and mentally ill in 1812. A huge crowd gathered to see him arrive in his carriage. They all bowed as the royal party was escorted indoors and made its way towards the royal box.

George had reached the rotunda when he bumped into his eldest son (then the Prince of Wales, later King George IV). Unfortunately, the two couldn’t stand the sight of each other. George III immediately flew at his son in a rage and thumped him around the ear in full view of everyone.

The audience turned away in embarrassment. It was quite some time before order was restored and the mad old king was persuaded to take his seat in the royal box. Afterwards, the Theatre Royal took drastic steps to make sure that nothing so awful could ever happen again.

HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 139. The arrangements that the Theatre Royal made to ensure that the two royals should never bump into each other again are unique in British theatre. They continue to this day. What are they?

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