Singin’ In The Rain The Palace Theatre
Don Lockwood – Adam Cooper
Cosmo Brown – Daniel Crossley
Kathy Selden – Scarlett Strallen
Lina Lamont – Katherine Kinglsey
Based on the popular 1952 MGM film, Singin’ In The Rain is a title that is synonymous with Gene Kelly and the style of the era. Before the curtain even rose, as an audience member, I already had my own preconceptions of how the show should appear based on my knowledge of the film, and I expect the majority of the audience had the same inclination. For some productions, this prior knowledge can prove to be detrimental as it can leave an audience blinkered and unable to appreciate a film and stage show as two different entities. In my opinion Singin’ In The Rain had no such problem and without exaggerating…I adored it.
From the outset the whole company grabbed the audience with high energy and an exciting hub of activity, all with their own individual characters. With an innovative and strong use of an overture, the audience is thrown straight into the middle of a bustling film lot as though they have interrupted a normal busy day. The ensemble throughout is excellent, never faltering in energy or enthusiasm at any point. They are equally as strong at singing the complex but ear-pleasing harmonies as they are in the high-kicking, classy dance numbers. They are a joy to watch.
Adam Cooper, who has been previously known in the classical ballet and contemporary dance world, appears as Don Lockwood, the romantic star of Singin’ In The Rain. He is suave, stylish and effortlessly charming in his portrayal of Don. Immediately likable from the start, with strong yet appealing vocals, I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. Of course, it goes without saying that his dance skills really stole the show, particularly his ease of tapping and his perfect Gene Kelly style.
Cosmo Brown, Don’s partner in comic crime, is played by Daniel Crossley who reminds me of a young Wayne Sleep. For me this is a huge compliment, he dances with great exuberance, explosive at exactly the right moments but contained and precise in the rest. His rendition of ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ is full of the comic tricks so associated with the role. Cooper and Crossley have a great rapport throughout the show, so convincing that I didn’t doubt for a moment that the pair had been firm friends and vaudeville partners for years.
Scarlett Strallen takes the role of Kathy Selden, the wannabe actress who steals Don’s heart. Although I cannot fault her stunning voice and her wonderful dance skills, I was occasionally let down by her take on Kathy’s personality. Playing her quite forward and almost overly enthusiastic, I missed the more gentle, shy and subtle side of Kathy, This aside, Strallen held the character firmly in her grasp and kept the energy throughout. Her scenes with Cooper are tender and their chemistry on stage is genuine.
Lina Lamont, Don’s on screen romantic partner, is played with amazing tenacity by Katherine Kingsley. How Kingsley sustains her screechy tones I will never know, but it was extremely entertaining and incredibly true to the character. I think the audience laughed more at her attempts at proper enunciation than at any other moment in the show. Kingsley has real comic timing and plays the ‘not-so-dumb’ star with the correct balance of farce and realism.
I could compliment every cast member of Singin’ In The Rain in one way or another and I am amazed at the sheer brilliance of choreography, direction and overall production values. The title song itself is wonderful in its charm, playfulness and authenticity to the original.
I love the theatre, but I will always watch with a critical eye, however with Singin’ In The Rain I will stand by my statement that it is the best show I have seen in the West End for many years. In my opinion it has everything an audience needs and will appeal to the majority of the general public, from the parents or grandparents who were sweethearts when the film was released, the teenagers who can’t help but laugh at the almost farcical moments, to the young adults who appreciate a night of entertainment of the highest degree. I would see it again tomorrow.
Review by Natasha Wynn
Thursday, 1st March, 2012