Like many people, I grew up with the MGM film, Singin’ in the Rain , with my VHS copy almost unwatchable by the end of its life. Thank goodness for DVD, and thank goodness for its return to the West End. With the movie firmly in my mind, for me the characters don’t go by their names of Don or Cosmo, it’s Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, so any recreation of these parts would seem be near impossible. I said near. With the talented trio of Adam Cooper, Scarlett Strallen and Daniel Crossley leading the way, this production certainly measures up, get ready for Singin’ In The Rain - 2012 edit.
From the outset, you’re reminded that this show requires highly skilled dancers to keep up with the quick paced energy of the legendary numbers - and boy does every lead and ensemble deliver on all accounts. Andrew Wright’s choreography is truly brilliant, with numbers such as ‘Got to Dance’ more than living up to the complex routines of MGM, and reminding of the tap brilliance seen in Thoroughly Modern Millie’s ‘Forget about the boy’. The trio numbers worked particularly well for me, with ‘Moses’ and ‘Good Morning’ being particular favourites. Wonderfully dynamic routines that allowed the actors to thrive individually, while also complimenting each other collectively.
As you would hope the show-stopping ‘Singin in the rain’, performed by Adam Cooper, is exactly that. Doing a great job of recreating the magic of Gene, while fully utilising the stage setting and showcasing Adam’s wonderful dancing ability. Daniel Crossley as Cosmo gets his starring moment earlier in the musical with ‘Make ‘em Laugh’, which is carried out with great physical performance making each scenario look both funny and effortless. Scarlett Strallen is everything you could want in a leading lady, having a great presence on the stage that makes her stand out, even in many of the busier routines she takes part in.
Being a film firstly, the musical numbers work very differently than that of a more traditional musical, with each standing as a scene alone rather than always moving the story forward. But for me this was particularly refreshing on the stage, as their were no ‘filler’ songs – each being a hit in its own right. Even those added for the production, such as ‘You stepped out of a dream’ and ‘What’s wrong with me’ were welcome additions, with the latter being performed expertly by Katherine Kingsley as Lina Lemont.
The set is not overly complicated, but used very well, with nice transitions between scenes. Unfortunately the costumes let down some of the production numbers, looking reminiscent of more amateur productions. The female cast members in particularly hold none of the glamour of Hollywood, looking more cheap than 1950’s chic.
This musical has a songbook to dream of and this production will give you everything you could ask for in a West End musical. For those who love the film, this has enough nods to the original, while still offering up originality, particularly fitting for the theatre setting. Spectacular dancing, singing and all round entertainment – leaving you with that warm fuzzy feeling, only achievable from a true classic. Never mind just singin’ in the rain - you’ll be humming these tunes in the aisles, in the shower and on your way to work the next day. Got to see!
Submitted by guest blogger @richardsbm