NEVER mind how cold it is outside, anyone with a ticket to see this production will have a heart-warming experience guaranteed to beat the winter blues.

The casting was inspired - we all knew Nigel Preece would be brilliant as Henry Higgins and, as always, he did not let us down. But none of us knew how good Emily Preece would be in her debut major role. Her singing was delightful, and her acting a revelation.

There was strong back-up, especially from Chris Paine, as Pickering, Denise Churchett, as Mrs Higgins, and Julian Richards, as Freddie, plus a great performance by Steve Coussens as Alfred P Doolittle. Congratulations must also go to Jill Parmenter, for her performance as Mrs Pearce, as she only stepped into the role a few days prior to opening night.

The musical numbers are, of course, a joy - I always enjoy hearing those familiar songs such as Wouldn't it be Loverly?, The Rain in Spain, Ascot Gavotte, et al, and we were all foot-tapping along to the superb production number Get Me To The Church on Time, excellently choreographed by Wendy Richards.

Nigel particularly excelled in I'm An Ordinary Man, the wonderful Hymn to Him, and I've Grown Accustomed to her Face.

It wouldn't seem right if the Ascot scene did not feature all black and white outfits, as in the film, and for this, and indeed the entire production, the costumes were spot-on. I wish I could borrow some of those fabulous hats!

Emily's dad, David, is the director of this excellent show, her mum Sue is musical director, and Nigel is Sue's cousin, so this is certainly a triumph for the Preece family. But everyone involved has obviously worked extremely hard, and they have produced what is possibly the best production I have ever seen by KODS.

This is certainly a winner and promises to be a deserved sell-out.VJS.