Last night, I spent a gloriously nostalgic evening at the theatre watching the spectacle that is Singing in The Rain, it felt like a childhood embrace from a favourite grandparent – warm, happy, secure and where I belonged!
We all know of the 1952 MGM classic musical comedy film ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, as it has been named as one of the greatest musical movies of all time. Made famous by the cast of Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, it light heartedly charts the 1920’s depiction of performers caught up in the transition from silent films to the ground-breaking ‘talkies’. Centring on the silver screen romantic pairing of Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont – the darlings of MGM studios. Everyone has trouble adapting to the changes but none more than Lina Lamont, a beautiful screen goddess but with a voice perfect for silence, even after endless diction lessons! Then there is Cosmo Brown, Don’s long-time friend and partner and Kathy Seldon, a young aspiring actress with an angelic voice who has caught Lockwood’s eye. Kathy is hired to save the latest movie and voice over Lamont’s dulcet tones and Lina is not happy!
This musical stage version of the movie stays true to the film but adds the feeling you are watching from a fly on the wall vantage point. With all the iconic songs such as Make ‘Em Laugh, Broadway Melody, Good Morning and the title song of Singing in the rain (with the expected deluge on stage) can only be described as stunning. It is all you hope it will be and much more.
This critically acclaimed production, directed by Jonathan Church with Fiona Dunn and resident director David Grewcock has everything a Spectacular should have. Robert Scott leads as musical Director and supervisor the perfectly nostalgic sound of the 1920’s and Simon Higlett adds the visuals as the creative Set and Costume Designer putting the colour into the ‘Technicolor’ of the film era. However, it is Andrew Wright and Jaye Elster’s choreography in this production that cements its lofty supremacy, every step is beautifully executed from the sultry jazz ballet to the spine-tingling tap. Probably the strongest cast I have seen in a long while, every member of the large ensemble are prevalent, work hard and are on point in each number – they are flawless. Some of their costume changes are very impressive too!
The leading roles are all gloriously played by true triple threats, and they are an absolute delight to watch on every level. Sam Lips as Don Lockwood embodies the romantic lead role and is believable from his opening scene ‘hoofer’ beginnings to his sophisticated duets with Kathy. His vocals are authentic and powerfully emotive. Charlotte Gooch as Kathy Seldon really impressed me, this performer is one extremely talented lady. She is mesmerising in every interaction, vocally, dancing and acting – Gooch is exceptional.
The likeable comedic character of Cosmo Brown (Lockwood’s childhood friend and partner) is played by Ross McLaren, and he makes this role his own which is refreshing to see, he is very watchable and has the skill to make you feel he is an old friend. Brassy comedy is also offered in abundance by Jenny Gaynor as Lina Lamont, the character we love to hate. Her rendition of ‘What’s wrong with me?’ is perfectly timed hilarity with a real hint of audience inducing empathy. All four of these characters feel like old friends we know so well; such is the power of these performances and the productions excellence.
I left the theatre smiling from ear to ear, knowing I had just witnessed a glorious production that had wide reaching audience appeal, an exceptional cast, four outstanding leads and a stellar creative team. This is what musical theatre looks like at its very best – Wow! Singin’ In The Rain is at the Sheffield Lyceum while Saturday 23rd July, do not miss it, if you can get a ticket. https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/singin-in-the-rain
Reviewer: Tracey Bell
Reviewed: 20th July 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★