Singing in the Rain is probably my favourite classic Hollywood musical film. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve recited Lina Lamont’s classic lines to my own amusement, it’s a lot, I assure you. With a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Arthur Freed and music by Nacio Herb Brown, Singing in the Rain the musical is based on the 1952 movie of the same name. 2021 saw Michael Harrison and Jonathan Church Present the Chichester Festival Theatre and Stage Entertainment production of Singing in the Rain at Saddlers Wells.
The storyline of Singing in the Rain the musical sticks very closely to the original movie. Set at the end of the silent movie era, glamorous on-screen couple Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are Monumental Pictures biggest movie stars. When the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer, receives both critical and financial success, Monumental Pictures makes the decision to turn their charismatic stars of the silent screen into stars of talking movies. With the studios lack of technical knowledge, a leading lady with the shrillest voice on the planet and a couple who hate each other off screen what on earth could go wrong?
This was the first professional production of Singing in the Rain that I have seen and being a huge fan of the film, I had high expectations. I need not have worried as Director Jonathan Church delivered a production that blew me away. From the vibrant classic costumes and iconic Hollywood set by Simon Higlett, Set and Costume Designer, I was transported to Monumental Pictures. The impressive projections by Ian William Galloway, Video Designer, and Gareth Owen (Sound Designer) delivered some of my favourite parts of the musical as we watch the calamity unfold with The Duelling Cavalier movie projections. The Broadway Ballet performance came to life thanks to the bright neon signs and colourful light backdrop by Tim Mitchell (Lighting Designer).
The talented ensemble delivered the joyful, charming choreography by Andrew Wright with energy and character. Musical Director & Supervisor Robert Scott led this talented orchestra to deliver the classic songs with ease and it was nice to catch a glimpse of them during the opening of Act II. Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown are brought to life by the fabulously talented Adam Cooper and Kevin Clifton. They both had a wonderful chemistry together as they danced the popular classic Moses Supposes to multiple cheers from the audience. Their chemistry was further elevated by the remarkable Charlotte Gooch as Kathy Selden. This is a trio that works. I thoroughly enjoyed Cavin Cornwall as RJ Simpson, the big boss of Monumental and Michael Matus had me howling as Roscoe Dexter trying to direct Lina in her first talking picture.
Faye Tozer as Lina Lamont was my stand out performance of the night. Everything from her high pitched twangs to her comedic body language, she absolutely smashed the part of my favourite character Lina and had me hysterically laughing throughout.
We booked the splash seats for this production and I’m so glad I did. I did get absolutely drenched during Adam Cooper’s energetic, charismatic performance of the infamous Singing in the Rain. The laughter from the audience members in those rows, as we had water kicked at us, is a moment in theatre I won’t forget in a hurry. After the year we have all had, we really needed that collective laugh.
Packed full of charm, laughs and splashes, this production of Singing in the Rain is brilliant and worth getting drenched for!
We say: “Packed full of charm, laughs and splashes, this production of Singing in the Rain is brilliant and worth getting drenched for!”