Saturday, 9 March 2013

Singin' in the Rain the Musical: Theatre Review

Based on the 1952 film of the same name, Singin’ in the Rain has been running at the beautiful Palace Theatre since February of last year. The musical has announced that it will close after a year and a half in the West End in August 2013 and will embark on a UK Tour and will return to its original home, The Chichester Festival Theatre, for a limited run. Everyone knows the classic Hollywood film starring Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly; it has to be one of the best musical films of all time. This production of the show does it justice! Following the story of silent Movie star, Don Lockwood, and how he, his best friend (Cosmo Brown) and his new girlfriend (Kathy Sheldon) must save this new ‘talkie’ movie so Lina Lamont doesn’t humiliate the studio. I’m not going to say anymore as I’m sure you’re familiar with the plot, but if you’re not then go checkout my review of the original cast by clicking here. Not going to lie, the story isn’t the most thrilling plot but it’s not meant to be; its light entertainment. Nacio Herrb Brown and Arthur Freed’s music and lyrics are beautiful; the full score oozes the classic Hollywood feel and is very pleasant to listen to.
Simon Higlett is the designer on the production, the set doesn’t really change throughout the whole show apart from minor changes but this really works, it’s a no fuss design that works in every location. Higlett has obviously taken into consideration every feature of the show and has catered it to work with them and it is faultless.

Andrew Wright is one of my favourite choreographers, his work is just faultless! He manages to bring the feel of the original movie on the stage but brings it into the twenty first century; he balances the different styles used in the show in a way that can only be described as first-class.  Jonathan Church’s direction complements Wright’s choreography immensely, they certainly go hand in hand. Adam Cooper stars as Don Lockwood in the musical, he has to be the perfect casting for this role! He dances effortlessly and is so natural in the role. He’s so lovely to watch and his charisma on stage makes the audience absolutely adore him!
Louise Bowden plays Coopers love interest, Kathy Sheldon. I’m sure it’s because Adam Cooper must put the other cast members at ease and he must be quite easy to play off of but she is another one who seemed so natural and comfortable in the role. I don’t like comparing people but she’s almost exactly the same as Scarlett Strallen, just without the cheese. Beautiful voice and her chemistry with her other co-stars contributed to her fantastic performance. And my God has she calves to die for!
Cosmo Brown is played by Stephane Anelli, although to me he didn’t exactly look like how I’d imagine the part to be but his cheeky smile and good comic timing made up for this, very relaxed in the role and seemed to bounce off the other actors energy. He seems to really understand who his Cosmo is so he performs with such confidence in the show and isn’t afraid to play around with the character.
Jennifer Ellison plays Lina Lomont, I personally was very surprised when this casting was announced but I didn’t think she wouldn’t be able to do it because at the end of the day she’s an actress! At times she has her very funny moments, one of the things I loved about Katherine Kingsley was that she was able to play around with the character and she had certain sass about her which was hilarious and enchanting to watch. But Jennifer didn’t carry this the whole way through. Her voice didn’t stay the same throughout the show, one minute it was the high annoying voice (which is the role!) and the next it would be a lower normal voice. Her boobs were also very distracting, they are HUGE and look a little strange in her costumes! One thing that really annoyed me is that as an actor you stay in character until you are sure the audience cannot see you, she didn’t do this. She would get the exit and before she was out of sight would drop the character on stage. Her acting was good when she was speaking but when she wasn’t she was either over reacting and made me think “what the f**k is she doing” or she wasn’t doing anything at all. I may be making her performance sound quite bad but in fact she wasn’t awful at all, she was good. She really brought out the humour in her solo and performed the role well.
The ensemble of the show really pull everything together for me, they seem so on it in this production and it doesn’t feel like they do this show 8 times a week. Filled with talent and they mould together really well.
A special mention goes out to Matthew Croke who seemed to perform with such ease but had a stunning stage presence about himself. Kelly Ewins-Prouse is Swing/Dance Captain in this musical but on the night I was there she was on for the Broadway Ballet Girl. What an incredible dancer! Whenever she was in the ensemble I could pick her out straight away and when she had her solo in the Broadway Ballet scene I couldn’t take my eyes off her, an exquisite performance.
This is one of my favourite shows in in the West End at the moment, and this cast are very strong. Just a warning, if you do not own a mack then don’t sit in the first 5 rows! It’s a spectacular production, top class show. It’s a perfect show if you’re looking for a pleasant night at the Theatre, if you can’t catch this show in the West End then please try and watch it on the UK Tour which I believe will launch late this year as its one NOT to miss.

Rating: ****
Singin' in the Rain is currently playing at the Palace Theatre  

Cast Includes: Adam Copper, Louise Bowden, Stephane Anelli, Jennifer Ellison, Peter Forbes, Sandra Dickinson, Mark Hadfield, David Lucas, Brendan Cull, Nancy Wel George, Frankie Jenna, Karen Aspinall, Emma Caffrey, Matthew Croke, Adam Denman, Kelly Ewins-Prouse, Olivia Fines, Charlene Ford, Tim Hodges, Nia Jermin, Peter Le Brun, Matthew Malthouse, Adam Margilewski, Oliver Metziler, Gillian Parkhouse, Joseph Prouse, Charlotte Scott and Zara Warren. 

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