THEATRE – Singing in the Rain – Festival Theatre – 4K

singing-in-the-rainBy Peter Maddern

It was the start of MGM’s golden era of screen musicals and Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singing in the Rain is certainly up amongst the best, not just for MGM but from all the Hollywood studios. Jonathan Church’s stage production for the Chichester Festival Theatre is true to its source material with an emphasis on the story told and the dancing.

As for the yarn, nothing new here; boy meets new girl, old girl threatens to destroy everything and someone has to find a way for the show to go on and true love to find its way. Grant Almirall as Don Lockwood is the boy, Gretel Scarlett is the new girl, Kathy, and Jack Chambers as Cosmo is the Mr Fixit when Lina Lamont (Erika Heynatz) goes off her rocker. As the story dates to the time when silent flicks started to possess voices, the production makes great, amusing use of the problems of recording sound especially from those who hitherto had survived on looks alone and not much acting talent.

While Almirall and Scarlett are serviceable it is Chambers and Heynatz who steal the show, the former with his energy and pizzazz and the latter with her ear piercing voice and self-deluding gormlessness.

While the ballet and some limited tap dancing is competent it does not reek of scary brave aspirations. However, the title song, which has to be one of the most joyously sequenced love songs ever devised is a treat, especially that version at the end of the first half with the added fun of seeing those in the first few rows get covered in spray and kicked up water.

It all makes for an enormously enjoyable night with women very much in the majority in the audience; so men be prepared to sail along with the tide (and fork up for the souvenirs after.)

Kryztoff Rating  4K

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