I saw the film Singin’ in the Rain when I was about 14 and some of the songs lodged themselves in my head to the extent that whenever anyone says “good morning” to me, I sing “good morning, we’ve talked the whole night through” silently to myself. If the musical numbers from the film stayed with me, the plot and performances definitely didn’t – but fortunately the same can’t be said of last night’s production.
Don Lockwood (Adam Cooper) and Lina Lamont (Faye Tozer) are lighting up the Hollywood silent movie scene on and off screen, but all is not as it seems. Dom has fallen for unknown performer Kathy Seldon (Charlotte Gooch) and the dawn of the ‘talkies’ spells trouble for Lina, whose talents aren’t quite as wide-reaching as the audience has been led to believe. Together, Dom, Kathy and Dom’s oldest friend and co-performer Cosmo Brown (Kevin Clifton) cook up a plan that could save all of their careers, with much merriment along the way.
The chemistry between Cooper, Gooch and Clifton is clear. The three bounce off each other and Clifton in particular delivers a really enjoyable, slightly hammed up performance with a portion of slapstick that doesn’t feel too cringey. The star of the show for me, though, was Tozer; who steals every scene she’s in and is pitch imperfect throughout. Having been aware of her from pop group Steps I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was genuinely blown away by her acting and ability to humanise a pretty unlikable character.
The choreography across the piece, from leads to ensemble, is superb and executed beautifully. I also found the costumes absolutely thrilling, with an abundance of 1920s glamour and sparkle and perfect pin curls across the board. And it would be remiss of me not to mention the orchestra whose performance was flawless. The first act felt slightly too long to me and I found myself getting slightly fidgety, but returning after the interval the energy peaks with a bright, camp, high-octane musical number. At times it felt a bit like a rainbow fever-dream, but after a year and a half of grim experiences and grimmer headlines, and with summer seemingly over before it’s begun it was exactly the kind of unabashed, OTT theatre I was looking for.
This show delivers glamour, beauty and pure joy. You can feel the excitement radiating around the auditorium and the cast are all clearly delighted to be performing, pouring their hearts into every movement and note. There’s a lot to love here and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this production to theatre fans of all ages.
Singin’ In The Rain continues at Sadler’s Wells until the 5th September with full details and tickets at https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2021/singin-in-the-rain/
Reviewer: Zoë Meeres
Reviewed: 5th August 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★