The stage version of the Singin’ in the Rain was first brought to London in 1983, later followed by Broadway in 1985. It is no surprise that the popular film would return to the stage in the West End… we attended on Wednesday 24th October 2012.
Opening with a busy bustling film studio with extras walking around you are instantly catapulted to 1927. Soon after, the stage show begins very much in the same way as the film, with the stars arriving at the Chinese Theatre for the premiere of the latest Lockwood and Lamont feature. Lockwood then retells his story of hardship and how both he and Cosmo worked hard to be where they are and soon we are tap dancing away to “Fit as a Fiddle”.
The parallels between the show and the film are very good, the slight difference being, of course, the set but the story line remains strong as does its dance numbers. The use of inside the film studio works incredibly well as it is constantly changed from indoors to outdoors and the tiled floor is brilliantly used for the tap dancing and the infamous rain sequence later.
Adam Cooper, appearing here as Don Lockwood, is very good. He may not be as completely charismatic as Gene Kelly or even to the same level dance wise, but, to his credit, that would be avery hard thing to achieve. However, Cooper is refreshing to watch and captures the character well. He comes across as a bit more of a romantic which is refreshing to watch. The chemistry between Don and Kathy is very good and the two lead’s voices complement each other as does their on stage banter.
Cosmo Brown is a very funny character in the film, quick with the one liners and an impeccable dancer. Here he is played by Daniel Crossley, again not as good a dancer as Donald O’Connor but still very good. His rendition of “Make ‘Em Laugh” is funny and only misses the walking up the wall trick, which is understandable as it cannot be re shot or have several takes like a film. He delivers Cosmo’s lines with perfect dry humour and is incredibly watchable.
The two ladies on stage, Scarlett Strallen (Kathy Seldon) and Katherine Kingsley (Lina Lamont) are a joy to watch. At first Kathy was a little bit more of a live wire than Debbie Reynolds is in the film; however this then morphed into the sweet, charming and beautifully innocent Kathy. Her voice is heavenly to listen to and her dancing captivating. Katherine garners many laughs as the shrill voiced Lina. Her comic timing and portrayal was very much like the loved Jean Hagen and had everyone laughing.
The one scene everyone talks about when speaking about this show is the “Singin’ in the Rain” and how the wonderful cinematic scene will be conveyed on stage. The outcome is one reason to see the show alone and if you are feeling brave try and sit near the front.
The whole production is a complete joy to watch and put sun in everyone’s hearts. It is refreshing to see this type of show still in the West End. There is a clear reason why it has been awarded so many five stars in its performance reviews; the only reason we are giving four is because you just can’t quite beat the film.
Best performance: Daniel Crossley as Cosmo Brown, closely followed by Katherine Kingsley as Lina Lamont.
Best scene: Singin’ in the Rain performed by Adam Cooper as Don Lockwood.