Photos – Jeff Busby
The Golden era of Hollywood gave the world a number of classic musicals. Few are more memorable than MGM's glorious salute to its own history – Singin' in the Rain.
This impressive, lively stage production originated at Chichester Festival Theatre, and is in turn a tribute to the film and of course Gene Kelly's iconic dance sequence.
Set in the late 1920s, film studios and their stars are faced with a revolution – the advent of sound and how this will impact on their (silent) art form.
Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are two of these stars. While Don has the looks and charm to carry him through, Lina, unfortunately, has a voice that, shall we say, is not so suitable for talkies. Sidekick Cosmo Brown comes up with the notion that if someone else's voice was used they may be able to get away with the footage already shot.
Director Jonathan Church's production plays very much on the humour of the story and delights in recreating some of the big colourful dance numbers reminisecnt of the period, utilising the ensemble to great effect. Andrew Wright's athletic choreography is a joy to watch, giving both the ensemble and lead performers a great opportunity to display their talents.
Seasoned perfomers Mike Bishop (as studio head RF Simpson) and Robyn Arthur (Dora Bailey/Miss Dinsmore) lend great support to the proceedings. Ensemble member Nadia Coote shines in the extended Broadway Ballet, channelling the late great Cyd Charisse.
Adam Garcia has all the charm and good looks necessary to play Lockwood, as well as the talent to pull off that dance sequence.
Gretel Scarlett is the young Kathy Seldon, a starlet who catures the eye of Lockwood, and shows that she can sing, dance and act equally well.
While both these performers stand out in their own right, the chemistry between them could have been stronger.
What was not lacking was the chemistry between Garcia and Jack Chambers who plays Cosmo Brown with everything he has. Chambers has an undeniable arsenal of talent. A graceful, agile dancer, he is a strong singer and proves that he has great comic timing. Make 'Em Laugh and Moses Supposes, both featuring Chambers, are show highlights.
Also glowing is Erika Heynatz, in the larger than life creation of Lina Lamont. Heynatz makes the most of the character and her scenes, with the filmed sequences a particular highlight and very funny.
As for the big moment? Well the production does not let its audience down. In fact you can savour the rain twice – at the end of each act – in a brilliantly excecuted downpour.
Singin' in the Rain is an enjoyable romp that works well on stage, with colourful and exciting dance numbers. Where it succeeds most is in its loving tribute to a truly great film musical and it's commitment from a talented cast and company.
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Michael Cassel Group, David Atkins Enterprises and Dainty Group International present
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
composer Nacio Herb Brown | lyrics Arthur Freed
Director Jonathan Church
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne
Dates: from Saturday, 7 May 2016
Tickets: from $69.90
Venue: Sydney Lyric Theatre
Dates: from Thursday 7 July 2016
Venue: Lyric Theatre QPAC
Dates: from Thursday 22 September 2016
Venue: Festival Theatre
Dates: from 1st December 2016
Venue: Crown Theatre
Dates: from 29th December 2016