IT, frankly, doesn’t get much better than this, and if it did, you’d be lucky to find a better ensemble anywhere in Britain that could pitch this delightful musical comedy in such a tone as My Fair Lady at The Mill at Sonning, writes Paul Thomas.

From start to finish, this wonderful production of probably and arguably one of the finest musicals ever written, is nothing short of sensational...and for a number of reasons – the acting, the singing and excellent choreography is of the highest standard from a cast obviously devoted to bringing out the best of the story and the best of themselves.

Entranced? You will be.

Your know the score... it’s the story of Eliza Dolittle – a Cockney flower girl who speaks in ‘yowls’ and not ‘vowels’ – which has rightfully captivated audiences for decades.

Along comes a professor of linguistics, Henry Higgins, who bets with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can teach her to speak properly and pass her off as a duchess at the next big ball.

Of course, he wins the bet, but along the way, love intrudes among the social differences of class and sex warfare of early 20th Century Britain portrayed by George Bernard Shaw in his novel Pygmalion, from which the musical was adapted.

The movie version of My Fair Lady hit our screens in 1964 with such grandiose elegance and a cast of hundreds, including Audrey Hepburn as Eliza and Rex Harrison as Higgins, that many find it hard to see how just 12 actors and five musicians can make it work on the Sonning stage.

But make it work they do...and some.

Add to this the unforgettable score from Lerner and Loewe, including songs Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?, On The Street Where You Live, I Could Have Danced All Night, With a Little Bit of Luck, The Rain in Spain, I’ve Grown Accustomed to her Face and Get Me To The Church On Time and this production – like Eliza’s first outing to Royal Ascot – is a winner.

Following the record-breaking success of High Society last Christmas, The Mill has welcomed back Joseph Pitcher to direct and choreograph what is a quite elegant, but sometimes gritty adaptation of the story.

The dancing is quite brilliant, with lifts, holds, throws in close hold and ensemble that are a wow.

Pitcher has brought with him a cast including High Society’s leading lady Bethan Nash as Eliza and seasoned West End performer Martin Fisher as Higgins.

Fisher’s intonation, cadence and vocalisation is engaging, he angers, but also intrigues. He would have raised eyebrows in the story’s 1912 setting, he would be all but ostracised from society for his sexism now. However, there is a quality he manages to get across, that his hard-boiled shell can be cracked at any moment.

Nash...well a star is born.

I heard many a murmur on first night that likened her voice to a young Julie Andrews. They would not be far wrong. This actor is surely destined for the West End. A pity musicals are still second string for Hollywood these days.

Pickering was warmly played by Eric Carte, his faltering, ageing gentlemanly behaviour, to some an annoyance, to others the epitome of your kind-hearted, yet socially inept with women really kind of guy. Still brill.

But for me, although the main trio were terrific, Eliza’s dad Alfred, played by Phil Snowden, blew the roof off this superb outing.

It’s a great role to have as a character actor and Snowden doesn’t just do it justice, he locks up the role and throws away the key. It’s his.

Snowden’s dancing and word phrasing as the good-for-nothing dustman who comes into his own stroke of luck is astounding.

The rest of the ensemble are lovely and I was mesmerised from the very start.

This is not to be missed. Ditch the tellybox or put on record and get down to The Mill for this sumptuous seasonal singularly super musical.

My Fair Lady, The Mill at Sonning, until January 27. Box Office: 01889 69000.