This famous water-logged Hollywood icon splish, splash and sploshed its way into the Birmingham Hippodrome last night dripping with joy, fun and a fountain of hummable, singable and danceable numbers which have woven themselves into our consciousness over the last 70 years. “Singin the Rain” burst onto the big screen in 1952 with the iridescent Gene Kelly, the avuncular Donald O’Connor and the endearing Debbie Reynolds a trio of triple threats whose unique talents Jonathan Church’s production comes very close to emulating, but all three are very hard acts to follow. Sam Lips and Charlotte Gooch, make fine attempts at the leading roles of Don Lockwood and Charlotte Gooch, with great comic support from Ross McLaren as Cosmo who bashes himself into a comic maelstrom during “Make ‘em Laugh” and the exquisite Jenny Gaynor as Lina Lamont who squeezes every pint of comic juice from a one-note character with consummate timing. Supporting them is a superb ensemble of all singin’, dancin’ and actin’ performers delivering some of the most outstanding and enthralling choreography currently on tour. Andrew Wright’s neatly judged and inspired dances lift the work into another league filled to the brim with shimmering moments of delight and detail avoiding cliched tropes giving us something truly wondrous.
Simon Higlett’s set deftly plays many parts and swiftly shifts from scene to scene without a blip keeping this fast-pacing adaptation tripping along merrily ensuring the first act hardly stops for breath. The pace drops a tad in the second half, but only by comparison with a first act awash with brilliance. It would be a very grumpy critic to point that out, so I won’t…
We get a sneaky peak of the band at the top of Ace Two who are greeted with a joyous whoop of delight from the audience and rightly so. Robert Scott helms a tight ship of multiple instrumentalists working in perfect harmony. Scott himself whips out a mean banjo to accompany the entr’acte and leads them through some great numbers – “All I Do Is Dream Of You”, “Lucky Star”, “Good Morning” and, of course, the title number.
It would be a churlish viewer not to feel a tingle of joy as it starts to rain on stage, and we hear the first few notes of the one of the most famous numbers in musical film. Don Lockwood is left alone to close the first act (there’s clearly a lot of interval mopping to be done) on a stage awash with puddle after puddle after puddle and becomes carelessly and joyously drenched in rain in a song and dance of exuberance and elation. A perfect encapsulation of the musical and, perhaps, of all musicals.
“Singin in the Rain” is only here for a week until 11th June so don your galoshes, mac and sou-wester, sail forth and go paddle in one of the most delightful and endearing musicals you will see all year! It’s A Splash Hit! https://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/singin-in-the-rain-2/
Reviewer: Peter Kinnock
Reviewed: 7th June 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★