With the recent hits in the West End being popular blockbuster movies transformed into musicals, it’s interesting to see the calibre being produced and where this genre is going. At the moment it is all people can talk about, from the latest movie musical Legally Blonde announcing that it is about to close it’s doors for the last time at the Savoy Theatre to amazing movies like The Bodyguard and Bridget Jones’ Diary gracing the boards of London’s stages.
Singin’ in the Rain is a diamond amongst classic movie goers and what a treat that it has transferred from Chichester to join the bright lights of our Theatreland. From the start of the overture to the final curtain call, this musical provides all the heart, fun and charm that the original film promised and more. Who could forget the famous scene where screen icon Gene Kelly made history by swinging round a lamp post and tap dancing in the middle of a downpour? Not to mention co-directing and choreographing the original movie himself. All these elements are captured wonderfully in this production with the added fun of the audience getting wet in the process. With a score by Nachio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed and based on the MGM screenplay by Adolph Green and Betty Comden, this show is one not to be missed.
Set in the turnover from the silent movies to the talkies, film star Don Lockwood (Adam Cooper) finds a kindred spirit and lover in the form of actress Kathy Selden (Scarlett Strallen). Accompanied by his best friend and composer Cosmo Brown (Daniel Crossley) he finds his passion for the craft and art behind acting for film. Nevertheless, jealousy shows itself in the darker side of this classic love story when Lockwood’s current leading lady, Lina Lamont, tries her hand at tearing up Don’s new relationship. Despite her beautiful appearance, Lamont’s irritating voice proves too much for the movie producers and critics therefore she is dubbed with Seldon’s rich and beautiful sound. This only angers the poisoned ‘Marilyn Monroe’ wannabe even more, leading her into an all out assault to destroy the young heroine’s chances of making it as a professional actress.
Adam Cooper shines in this latest adaptation having previously played the role at the Sadler’s Wells theatre. Primarily known for his dancing skills, he shows that he’s no stranger to singing and acting; showing off both talents incredibly well. Cooper gives heart to the piece and keeps Gene Kelly’s spirit alive. Scarlett Strallen unleashes a sensational voice that colours the stage with charm, making you believe this role was made for her as she shines with true romance and charm. Strallen possesses a voice that could make the heart melt. Daniel Crossley is the fun behind this production and provides the show with many laugh out loud moments. It must be said that Cooper and Crossley’s chemistry on the stage is electric and as dancers, these two are a pair to look out for. Katherine Kingsley portrays the hard-hearted and selfish Lina Lamont with natural comic timing, making it hard not to laugh. Despite the character’s obvious lack of talent, it is interesting to note that Kingsley’s dancing and singing still manages to steal the show on more than occasion, bringing the house down and proving to the audience that by her final bow she is truly an artist.
Acknowledgement must be made to the large ensemble that sing, dance and act their way through the show providing this classic story with the Broadway aplomb it deserves.
Filled with stylishly electric choreographic moments by Andrew Wright and direction by Jonathan Church, this is one musical not to be missed.
Weather report: Fun, charming and colourful with a definite chance of rain.
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By Brendan-Matthew Murphy @Brenmatthew
Currently booking until 29th September 2012
Palace Theatre, London, W1.