The classic MGM musical came alive on stage in a vibrant production.
Singin' In The Rain finished its run at London's Olivier Theatre on Thursday 20 July 2000 with a series of sell-outs in the last week. Such was the success of the production, it surely won't be too long before someone decides to revive it. The show lovingly recreates all the major dance numbers, although with some adaptations where it is not possible to reproduce what originally appeared on the screen.
Paul Robinson makes a dashing Don Lockwood, ably aided and abetted by Mark Channon as the comic Cosmo Brown. Together with Annette McLaughlin as Miss Dinsmore, the elocution teacher, they switch around the Moses Supposes routine so that the teacher ends up abandoning her inhibitions and joining Lockwood and Brown in a joyous tap dance.
Zoe Hart brings the right hometown glamour to Kathy Selden, while Rebecca Thornhill steals most of the scenes as the loudmouthed Lina Lamont. Her delivery of the line "I make more than Calvin Coolidge - put together!" is a highlight here as it was in the movie.
Special mention must be made of Tony Timberlake, who's performance as director Roscoe Tanner is superb. The audience rose to him as he became increasingly exasperated with Lina as she failed to speak any of her words into the concealed microphone.
The tour de force is still the title number, executed with plenty of panache and bucket-loads of water. Amazingly, Robinson does not perform the Gene Kelly trademark leap onto the lamppost, but the set and effects more than make up for it. The number is performed at the end of the first act, and reprised at the end of the show, in order to allow the stage to be wiped down before anyone else appears on it.
Its transfer from The West Yorkshire Playhouse to London's West End has been entirely successful. Jude Kelly's production captures the spirit of the film admirably, while Stephen Mear's choreography both reproduces and adapts the screen moves for the stage well. The design of the set by Huntley Muir gives the show the right look, while Mario Borza's water display proved to be literally a showstopper.
The opening paragraph proved remarkably prescient. On Monday 18 December, the show re-opened for a short run until Saturday 27 January 2001. Highly recommended; if you enjoyed the film, you'll enjoy this. Catch it while you can!
© 2000 Andrew Winton.
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