Singin' In The Rain

It’s safe to say that unless you live under a rock, you have most probably heard of Singin’ In The Rain, whether from the 1952 film starring Gene Kelly, or the stage musical which was first seen in the West End in 1983.  Directed by Jonathan Church, this current production really did shine on many levels and brought an incredible amount of Hollywood glitz and glamour to the stage.

The story centres around four main characters, Don Lockwood (Sam Lips), Kathy Selden (Charlotte Gooch), Cosmo Brown (Ross McLaren) and Lina Lamont (Jenny Gayner).  Lockwood and Lamont are at the very top of their career starring in silent movies at Monumental Pictures, however when talking pictures become the new medium of film, it is more than evident that Lina Lamont was not really made for her voice to be heard.  Gayner played this role perfectly.  The rather shrilling voice was intoxicating, and her comic acting was a joy to watch. She commands every scene she stars in, and it was hard not to love her character, even though she was rather ego fuelled and full of self-importance.

Lockwood meets Selden and a romance ensues.  It is apparent that Selden is a shining star and Lockwood takes it upon himself to offer her services as a voice double for Lamont.  The chemistry between Charlotte Gooch and Sam Lips is fantastic and each scene they share is packed full of Hollywood glamour.

Cosmo Brown, played expertly by Ross McLaren is a lifelong friend of Lockwood working together on the many movies produced by Monumental Pictures.  A real highlight of the night was ‘Make ‘em laugh’.  McLaren played out this song to it’s absolute full potential.  It was certainly a full-on routine which even culminated in the iconic scene from the movie which sees Brown running up and over the wall. McLaren’s comic timing was clear to see.

Now, the moment we are all waiting for has arrived, the absolutely unforgettable rain drenched routine for the title song, ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ to close the first act. If you think that it might have been the odd trickle of water, then you are very much mistaken.  The water was torrential, something we are quite used to in this country of course, however whether the audience members in the first few rows were ready was another matter.  Sam Lips was absolutely sensational in this routine, the dancing and singing were faultless and you couldn’t help but feel transported back to this most iconic scene from the film.  What a way to finish the first half!

During the production we meet Dora Bailey (Sandra Dickinson) a roving reporter who gives us all the news regarding Lockwood and Lamont during the film premiere.  Dickinson graces the stage with gusto and it was a pleasure to see her perform.

As the second half commenced, the curtain at the very back of the stage lifted and gives us a glimpse of the fantastic orchestra under the musical direction of Grant Walsh.  The soundtrack of ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ is littered with very memorable songs and this orchestra bought each and every musical number to life with such professionalism.

As the film is finally completed with Kathy Selden lending her vocals to Lina Lamont, Lina continues to take all the glory with the adoring audience as they believe that she now has the voice of an angel.  It is not until the many fans request a song from her at the premiere where she comes unstuck.  As Kathy is stood behind the curtain delivering the most beautiful vocal performance of ‘Would You’ Lockwood and Brown pull back the curtain to show everyone who was really behind the most captivating voice.

This production really deserves the 5 stars that I am giving it and as a complete purist, this classic Hollywood musical absolutely ticks every single box for me.  The ensemble cast provide some exquisite dance routines, with choreography by Andrew Wright and a special mention must be given to Harriet Samuel-Gray for her solo dance routine during the Broadway section.  A true star!

Beg, steal or borrow a ticket to see this production.  Full of glitz and glamour from a bygone age that really does deliver.  Not so much ‘Singin’ In the Rain’, more like ‘Bathing in Paradise’!

This production was reviewed at the Birmingham Hippodrome on the 7th June 2022 where it runs until the 11th June 2022 - Tickets available here https://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/singin-in-the-rain-2/