Writers: Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Music & Lyrics: Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Feed
Director: Jonathan Church
Although there’s been a recent bout of heatwaves, over at New Wimbledon Theatre there’s a 100% chance of showers – as the iconic Singin’ In The Rain is doing another splashtastic tour of the UK, guaranteed with a downpour of excellence.
Don Lockwood (Sam Lips) and Lina Lamont (Jenny Gayner) are Hollywood’s silent film era golden couple. When studio rivals Warner Bros make history with their talking picture debut, Monumental Pictures know they need to bring their own blockbuster to the table. But although Lamont has the looks, her vocals are severely lacking, and definitely not fit for the big screen. With the genius idea from creative Cosmo Brown (Ross McLaren) they decide to dub her vocals with another starlet in the making, Kathy Selden (Charlotte Gooch), to try and save their movie from failure.
Rarely can a production not be even slightly faulted, but director Jonathan Church’s show is flawless. Taking the classic Hollywood storyline and bringing it to life in a way that still feels contemporary is impressive. For example, utilising the pre-recorded silent movie scenes. These silent films jolt the audience away from the stage and into the cinema, immersing them further into Church’s world of wonder, capturing both the magic of stage and screen with one simple addition.
Much of the contemporary-meets-classic experience is contributed by designer Simon Higlett, who transforms the stage into a visually amazing backdrop within every scene. This, collaborated with choreographer Andrew Wright’s show stopping dance numbers makes for a colourfully, splashy, flashy production. The stylistic synchronisation between the cast during songs such as Good Morning and the Broadway Melody Ballet sequences are mesmerising; not a step out of place or an opportunity to dazzle the audience is missed. There’s a reason that this theatre staple still reigns (pun intended) supreme.
While the whole cast is fantastic, McLaren as Cosmo has true star quality and is an impeccable stand out. His cheeky demeanour and charming approach to the hilarious sidekick character enthrals the audience and McLaren completely embodies the role. His Make Em Laugh vocals and dance number is a winner, bringing a comedic element to each and every one of his appearances on stage. Gayner showcases her abundance of talent by appearing overtly untalented as ‘villain’ Lamont; her scenes of movie rehearsal struggles are a highlight of the performance. Lips and Gooch have excellent chemistry together, making the audience fall in love with their characters’ romantic storyline and musical numbers. Lips does perfect justice to the well-known dance routine made famous by Gene Kelly in the original movie, tapping across the stage with the timeless umbrella -spinning backdrop to create a feel-good explosion at the end of the first act.
This production of Singin’ In The Rain is the epitome of musical theatre and everything it embodies. Fantastic dance numbers, toe-tapping songs, an engaging story told by an excessively talented cast amongst a gorgeously creative set. Its’ big, bold, brilliance is why it’s been enchanting audiences since 1983.
Runs until 2 July 2022 then continues to tour