On a rainy night in London ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ opened up at Sadlers Wells – and it was anything but damp.
Sure there’s the all to famous ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ dance sequence (convincingly done by star Adam Cooper who steps into the role Gene Kelly made famous in the 1951 film – playing silent film star Don Lockwood), but the show is a whole lot more, and it almost remains faithful to the film.
it’s the 1920s and ‘The Jazz Singer’ has just opened to acclaim as the first talking picture. So at Monumental Pictures studio head RF Simpson (Cavin Cornwall) wants to emulate its success and make their next film’The Dueling Cavalier’’ a talkie. But there’s one problem. The voice of the actress chosen to be the star of this film – Lina Lamont (an excellent Faye Tozer) has a very high pitched voice. So Kathy Selden (Charlotte Gooch) Is hired to dub Lina’s voice for the film. In the meantime, star Lockwood falls in love with Selden, but the bigger question is will the films audiences find out that Lamont’s voice in the film in not actually hers?
This very colourful (and wet – bring waterproof clothing if you are sitting in the first few rows) and lively show ticks all the boxes; great costumes, sets, dancing, acting, story, etc., but it’s the supporting actors (all very award worthy) who steal the show. Tozer is perfect as Lamont – beautiful and blond but not as dumb as she acts, but it’s Kevin Clifton as Cosmo Brown who steals the show as Lockwood’s pal and acting partner, and his one man dance number ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ is a true showstopper.
There are a few head scratching moments. In the shorter second half there is a dance sequence that looks like it belongs in another show; a couple additional songs are added to the show that, while good, are not really necessary; and Gooch Is overshadowed by Tozer. However, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is a show with a superb mix of singing and dancing, at home comfortably at Sadler’s Wells, and it’s a welcome addition to the current slow opening of theatres. And expect it to rain the night you see it – on stage, and more than likely outside as well!
’Singin’ in the Rain’ end on September 5th.
Review by Tim Baros