Theatre Review - 'Singin' in the Rain'

Posted on: 23 February 2012 by Alexander Hay

Transposing a classic MGM musical from screen to stage is a daunting task as inevitable comparisons are bound to be made

A somewhat inevitable umbrella-related shot from Singin' in the Rain...But the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Singin’ in the Rain, which has now reached London’s Palace Theatre, succeeds brilliantly, retaining the energy, spirit and humour of the original 1952 film with the added frisson of live performance.

It is the roaring 20s and silent movie stars are the biggest names in the world. Handsome matinee idol Don Lockwood has it all - a string of hit films and a studio engineered romance with the most desirable actress in town. But with the new phenomenon of the talking pictures on the way and a chance meeting with a talented young chorus girl set to steal his heart, things are about to change for Don and for Hollywood forever.

A glorious homage to the golden days of Tinseltown, the show is packed full of all the charm, romance, comedy and glamour of one of the world’s best loved films and provides an ideal tonic to our current times of anxiety and gloom.

The witty screenplay by betty Camden and Adolph Green is full of gaga and moments of deeper emotion, as well as an hilarious use of mocked-up footage of the movie the characters are supposedly making.

Furthermore the marvellously tuneful score, which includes such excellent numbers as Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh, Moses Supposes and the legendary Singin’ in the Rain, is among the best ever written for a musical.

The stylish, soaring choreography by Andrew Wright perfectly complements the score and adds an irresistible flavour to the show, with many memorable moments. Most notable amongst these is a gorgeous Broadway Melody sequence, an imaginative routine on and around a biplane, and the timeless title number in which our hero splashes with tremendous aplomb, not only soaking himself but also the first few rows of the stalls.

Director Jonathan Church draws exemplary performances from his great cast, most notably former Royal Ballet star Adam Cooper, who has the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes of Gene Kelly, and acquits himself admirably, singing with considerable feeling and exuding the kind of charisma that, can light up a whole theatre.

Meanwhile Scarlett Strallen brings a mixture of sweet innocence and a touch of poignancy as his beloved Kathy, whose talent propels her from the chorus to stardom. Katherine Kingsley, meanwhile , is blissfully funny as the bitchy platinium blonde leading lady whose career is jeopardised by the arrival of the, talking pictures, thanks to her squeaky, screechy New York accent.

I am sure you do not need any further recommendation to see this five star musical which I think will be playing for quite some time!

By Laurence Green

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Press: Premier PR, 0207 292 8330

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Alexander Hay

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