Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Singin' in the Rain the Musical: Theatre Review

Singin' in the Rain is one of Hollywood's most loved and treasured musicals, although it caused controversy because Debbie Reynolds voice was ironically dubbed in parts, it still remains among people's favourite musicals of all time. Bringing an adaption of the iconic film to the West End would always be a risky thing because you'd have to get it right; otherwise you'd be seen to be making a joke of one of the most loved films from the past 100 years. The show was first put on in London in 1983 where it ran about 2 and a half years at the London Palladium, this adaption then went on tour in the UK in 1994. A Broadway production also played New York in 1985 through to 1986 with London revivals in 2000 and 2004.
In 2011 another revival was put on as part of the Chichester Festival in 2011, the show then announced it would be transferring to the West End where it would replace Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre. Don Lockwood is a Hollywood legend in 1927, alongside Lina Lamont; they make the perfect 'Hollywood couple'. They are huge hits until movies introduce sound into their pictures because Lina has the worst voice! Luckily Don bumps into a young actress called Kathy Sleden, they come up with the idea to dub Lina's voice with Kathy's. Don and Kathy soon fall in love, much to Lina's disapproval because this could ruin her career. By the end of the show Lina is soon shown as the fake she is to the public and Kathy finally gets the attention she deserves.
The shows score is that of a true Hollywood musical, the new songs stick the style of the original film and it's wonderful to have such a classic piece in the West End at the moment, which I think was missing. Jonathan Church's direction work well with Simon Higlett's design, at first I wasn't so sure of the design because it looked far too busy and some of it looked very random but as soon as the stage was brought to life by the actors it worked and each scene was believable to be in a different location even though it was practically the same set.
One thing that is the most incredible thing about this production is the choreography. The dancing is the thing that makes this production. Andrew Wright has done an amazing job, if he doesn't win any awards for this there is defiantly something wrong with the Theatre industry.
Adam Copper stars in the production as Don Lockwood and he carries the show. His interpretation of Don was spot on and held essence of Gene Kelly but he totally made the role his own, his exquisite dancing and effortless but incredible acting and singing contributed majorly to why the show works. Daniel Crossley as Cosmo Brown was fantastic, although he didn't stand out to me his chemistry with Adam Copper worked brilliantly on stage. One thing I would say is if his song 'Make 'em Laugh' wasn't so busy he would have stood out more to me, there was just a little too much going on in that section so less room for his tremendous talent to shine through.
Scarlett Strallen was a nice Kathy Selden, my favourite moments were when she was with Don, her and Adam Cooper also had a fantastic on stage chemistry. One thing I would say about her is that I think she could have been a little feistier, Kathy is a very feisty girl and Scarlett didn't really bring out this aspect of her however the way she played the role was still delightful. Katherine Kingsley had the hard job of trying to impress me, Lina Lamont is my favourite character in the show and I've seen a few people play her but none of them blew me away. Katherine was great, she was funny and played the role with attitude and very naively which worked. She also worked very well with the other characters, the contrast was terrific. She is another one who I think should be recognised for this role, I hope she gets nominated for an award because she's stunning in this show.
Michael Brandon as R.F Simpson, Sandra Dickson as Miss Dinsmore/Dora Bailey and Peter Forbes as Roscoe Dexter all were great additions to the cast. They worked wonderful together and alongside the principle cast they were fantastic. The ensemble were remarkable, the show wouldn't be what it is without them! Ebony Molina, Jaye Juliette Elster, David Birch and Jack Wilcox were a few that stood out for me. The opening of the show, although choreographed wonderfully, seemed a little random and really just wasn't needed, the children were also something that were not needed.
Everything else about the show was magnificent, the rain effect was incredible! I was expecting a line of water falling at the front of the stage and that's not what we got! The whole stage filled with water and the rain falling from the roof of the theatre looked fantastic! I do warn you though, if you want to sit in the stalls do not sit near the front otherwise you'll get SOAKED!
It almost seemed that the cast were having a competition on who could kick the water the furthest! The effect was great though, better than any previous productions of Singin' in the Rain I'd say! I'd recommend this show to everyone, its a classic story and a delightful production.

Rating: ****

Singin' in the Rain is currently playing at the Palace Theatre

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