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Singin’ in the Rain at New Wimbledon Theatre

I have no hesitation in saying that the 1952 movie “Singin’ in the Rain” and its 1985 stage version is one of the greatest musicals of all time, winning many awards over the years. It is one of the few musicals that not only has many first-rate songs (Nacio Herb Brown / Arthur Freed) but an intelligent, very witty, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Also, because it is set in the late 1920s, at the time of the first “talkies” and just before the Great Depression, it has a timeless quality about it (plus tap dancing!).

Singin in the Rain - Charlotte Gooch and Sam Lips.
Singin in the Rain – Charlotte Gooch and Sam Lips. Credit: Johan Persson.

For those who have never heard of the show and do not know the plot, it concerns “famous” silent film star Lina Lamont (Jenny Gayner), whose voice is, how shall I put it, “unsuitable” for talking pictures!. So her co-star, Don Lockwood (Sam Lips) and lifelong friend Cosmo Brown (Ross McLaren) come up with the idea of Kathy Selden (Charlotte Gooch) voicing her part without Lina’s knowledge. Don of course falls for Kathy, even though Monumental Studios publicity heavily implies that he and Lina are lovers.

Here, I am afraid, I shall have to beware of using the adjective “superb” too often, which is difficult, because in Jonathan Church’s production, first seen at Chichester some years ago and touring seemingly ever since, almost everything is superb!

Mclaren proves himself a worthy successor to Donald O’Connor (film) and Roy Castle (original West End production), showcasing his athletic as well as comedy and acting skills in “Make ‘em Laugh”. Gayner has honed the most awful nasal American accent to perfection, Lips’ dancing is effortless and Gooch is just so romantic. These four have the lion’s share of the work to do, but the remainder of the 27-strong cast also has plenty whether that be dancing or singing or changing their multitude of costumes (Simon Higlett) backstage. Sandra Dickinson has two lovely cameo roles which she makes the most of as does Alastair Crosswell as a dialect coach.

The magnificent set, also designed by Higlett, looks wonderful on Wimbledon’s large stage – in fact, if you want to see the show, DO try to see it at Wimbledon as the whole production is given the space to breathe here.

Everyone, of course, is waiting for the title song at the end of Act One and this does not disappoint, even if there is not as much water as there was at Chichester, where the front rows of the audience got soaked, which is perhaps a shame?

Excellent lighting (Tom Mitchell), stylish band (Grant Walsh) and inventive, complex choreography, based on the original (Andrew Wright), make, as I have already said, for a superb production of a superb show.

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You come out of the theatre with that feeling of “well-being” that we probably all need at present, humming the melodies and remembering the wettest moments!

Very highly recommended, as you may have gathered! Unfortunately, I am only allowed to award this…

5 Star Rating

Review by John Groves

A smash-hit at Chichester Festival Theatre and in the West End, Jonathan Church’s critically acclaimed production of Singin’ in the Rain is back to make a splash in 2022.

Journey back to the glamour of Hollywood during the roaring 20’s. Silent movie star Don Lockwood has it all, a string of hit films and a studio-engineered romance with the most beautiful actress in town. What Don doesn’t know is that the silver screen is about to find its voice, and a chance meeting with a talented young chorus girl set to steal his heart promises to change both Don, and Hollywood, forever.

High-energy choreography and sumptuous set design (including over 14,000 litres of water on stage every night) combine with the charm, romance and wit of one of the world’s best- loved films. Singin’ in the Rain features the glorious MGM score including Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh, Moses Supposes and the legendary Singin’ in the Rain.

Singin’ In The Rain is at New Wimbledon Theatre from Monday 27th June, 2022 to Saturday 2nd July, 2022.

View all shows booking now at New Wimbledon Theatre.

King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Mon 8 Aug – Sat 13 Aug 2022

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Author

  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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