DanceDramaMusicalReviewSouth West

Singin’ in the Rain – Bristol Hippodrome

Reviewer: Francesca Parker

Based on the screenplay by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Music & Lyrics: Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed

Director: David Grewcock

Musical Director: Grant Walsh

It feels as though, over the last couple of years particularly, there has been a resurgence of the ‘old classics’. Singin’ in the Rainis no exception to this rule and is, arguably, the jewel in the crown of this genre. It is particularly remarkable, not only because if it’s on longevity and toe-tappingly good tunes, but it was actually voted as the 20th best film ever made bySight and SoundMagazine in 2012 and the 8th byEmpire Magazinein 2008. The stage show is probably held in similar esteem in the annals of theatre history.

Set in Hollywood during the late 20s, Monumental Pictures find themselves having to compete in a whole new arena – talking movies. Don Lockwood (Sam Lips) and Lina Lamont (Jenny Gayner) are a pair of on-screen sweethearts, but her affections off-set are somewhat unrequited. Cosmo Brown (Kevin Clifton) masterminds the plan to save the production company from being surpassed by their rivals and it’s a total hit, mostly due to Kathy Selden’s (Charlotte Gooch) dulcet tones. In the end the audience is left with a ‘glorious feeling’ and they are all, well maybe bar Lina, ‘happy again’.

The touring set was excellent, as were the props – particularly the famous umbrellas. This is before anyone were to mention the lighting or special effects, which were equally effective. It really felt like the audience had been transported to a Hollywood set. One member of the audience could be clearly heard cooing and acknowledging ‘just how superb the whole thing is’. It was especially effective when it rained indoors and the front rows received a reminder of what the weather outside theatre was actually like. All told, the combination of these elements made for a superbly slick production.

The cast are exceptionally strong, making the ensemble pieces really enjoyable. The choreography were executed in perfect unison and the vocal harmonies blended perfectly. However, even though they were sublime, it did feel as though the four leads were carrying the production. Do not mistake this as a criticism, it’s simply an observation of the calibre and talent that we are treading the boards on Tuesday evening. Sam Lips made for a hugely convincing movie star and was, no question, a triple threat. It was especially impressive to see him dance rather seamlessly alongside, world ballroom champion, Kevin Clifton, who in his own right was equally impressive. His rendition of Make ‘em Laugh hit all the right notes and evoked rip-roaring belly laughs from the audience.

Equally, both Gaynor and Gooch were show-stoppingly fabulous. Special credit should go to Gayner for a cracking rendition of What’s Wrong With Me, she was perfectly imperfect.

Singin’ in the Rain a treat for the eyes, the ears and a remedy for the soul. Musicals don’t get any better.

Runs until 21 May 2022

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A treat for the senses and a remedy for the soul

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The Southwest team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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