Singin’ In The Rain at New Wimbledon Theatre

Singin’ in the Rain is one of those classic movie musicals that you feel like everyone has seen, but apart from ‘that’ scene I haven’t seen the movie and whilst I have seen an amateur production previously I was looking forward to seeing this classic show in all of its glory.

In Singin’ in the Rain we meet Don, a big silent movie star and Kathy, an unsuspecting ‘serious’ actress who, unlike many women around him, fail to fall at his feet. Don intrigued by Kathy sets out to find her again, but his co-star Lina Lamont has other ideas. In a twist of fate Lina turns out to need Kathy when the silent movie they were making is transformed into a musical and Lina’s voice far from matches her looks.

The storyline of Singin’ In The Rain is actually one with a bit more plot to it than many of its peers. Yes there is boy (well movie star) meets girl love story but the backdrop of the talking movies replacing the silent movies and the undercurrent plot of Kathy dubbing for Linda all provides a bit more interest than musicals of this kind might otherwise have.

The big selling point of this show however is the choreography by Andrew Wright and it excels here. There is everything from that iconic dance routine, with rain pouring onto stage, to the huge Broadway ballet that takes up a spectacular chunk of the second act. There is plenty of tap and the joyful routine of ‘Good Morning’ which leads into ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ really ends the first act on a high note.

Don Lockwood is played by Sam Lips and he easily convinces as a movie star with a confident swagger but a cheery demeanour. His movements look effortless and when he is alone on stage during Singin’ In the Rain he more than fills it with his dance ability. Playing opposite him as Kathy Selden is Charlotte Gooch who is an exquisite dancer, every move is perfectly placed and she moves with such elegance. Her voice is also well suited to the golden era musicals with a beautifully clear tone that you understand why she would have had such success in Hollywood.

Ross McLaren plays Cosmo Brown, Don’s best friend and he literally throws himself across the stage. ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ was his main number and the energy he brought to his performance left me breathless just watching him. Lina Lamont was played by Jenny Gayner who had the difficult task of sustaining Lina’s squeaky tones throughout the whole show, including her number ‘What’s Wrong With Me?’ and she did so with much hilarity. The rest of the cast live up to the superb leads and all of the cameos fitted in brilliantly, from Harriet Samuel-Grey to the sensual Broadway Melody Girl to Alastair Crosswell and Sandra Dickinson as the dialect coaches. The huge dance numbers filled with the ensemble were a delight to watch due to the talent of the dancers on stage.

The set and costumes were well thought out. The screen that came down as the projector which allowed the video to be played was a clever way of using new technology whilst keeping it set in the right era and the use of the set was cleverly done to ensure that the action continued to flow. The costumes filled the stage with color and added to the setting of the late 20’s perfectly. The 10 piece orchestra sounded wonderful, especially when, on a touring production it is rare to have an orchestra of this size.

Singin’ In The Rain, when performed by this company really is the most joyful of musicals. If you need a night of pure escapism then Singin’ In The Rain is the show to see.

Singin’ In The Rain is on until Saturday 2nd July at New Wimbledon Theatre. You can book tickets and find out more here.

If you like this review you might also like my review of School of Rock, Chicago and Waitress.

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