Music: Nacho Herb Brown.
Book:Betty Comden and Adolpho Green
Reviewer: Sharon MacDonald-Armitage
There is always a mix of excitement and trepidation when a production ofSingin’ in the Rainis announced. Excitement at seeing one of Hollywood’s Golden Era musicals and trepidation in wonderingif the production will ensure the first few rows of audience members will get slightly damp!Director Elizabeth Newman has got this current revival – a co-production between Salisbury Playhouse, Bolton Octagon, and the New Vic Theatre spot on.
Clearly a well-loved and well-known musical draws the crowds and the house wasfull of eagerly awaiting audience members – complete with a front row donned with waterproof ponchos in anticipation ofthe downpour – they were not disappointed;front rows be warned!
Set in 1927 Hollywood, the era of silent movies is currently being replaced by the “talkies”,Singin’ in the Raintells the story of movie star Don Lockwood (played with gusto by Matthew Croke) and hison screen partner Lina Lamont (Sarah Vezmar). Don has a voice suited to a talkingmovie; Lina’s could shatter glass at20 paces. Enter rising starlet Kathy Seldon (Eleanor Brown) who Don immediately falls for, much to the horror of thedevious, untalented Lina.
Vezmar steals the show as Lina, her comic timing and squeaky voice has the audience laughing throughout.What’s Wrong with Meis delivered perfectly and for a brief moment you have sympathywith her, however this is soon squashedwhen she continues her devious plotting.
Christian Edwards gives a sterling performance as Lockwood’s side kick and friend Cosmo Brown and he dons the role made famous by Donald O’Connor in the movie with consummate ease. HisMake ‘em LaughandMoses Supposesroutines garners much audience applause.
It is not just the titular songSingin’ in the Rainthat is well known to audience members but also Good Morning, andYou are My Lucky Starallstrike a chord.
A mention must be made regarding the Ciaran Bagnall’ssetwhich isreminiscent of a 1920’s nightclub and it becomes apparent as the show opens that the actors are also the band. With much too-ing and fro-ing between performing as a character and playing a variety of instruments, it emphasises the versatility of this actor musician production.
If there is a small criticism to be made it is that the relationship between Lockwood andSeldon is at times a little stilted but this is surely something that will improve as the run progresses.However, this is a production that delivers,something that was evident by the standing ovation it receives from the Playhouse audience.
A definite feel good one to watch
Runs until28 May, 2016