Festival Theatre, Sat 3 Dec.
The 1952 MGM film Singin’ In The Rain is considered one of Hollywood’s greatest screen musicals, featuring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen. More than 30 years later it was adapted for the stage and opened on London’s West End in 1983 and on Broadway in 1985. This Australian touring production arrives from the UK production directed by Jonathan Church, choreographed by Andrew Wright and the all-important set design from Simon Higlett to ensure the title song is full of rain and puddles.
As the driest state in the driest continent in the world, we can sometimes get excited by rain and tonight the Adelaide audience enthusiastically embraced the 12,000 litres of water falling on the Festival Theatre stage, with the front rows provided ponchos. It was a moment eagerly awaited by the audience, bringing back fond memories of Gene Kelly’s iconic, playful dance routine in the rain.
Set in the late 1920s, the plot follows Monumental Pictures stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont’s move from silent films to a talking picture and then, finally, the musical, The Dancing Cavalier. Lamont’s shrill voice has no place in a musical and Lockwood’s best friend Cosmo Brown comes up with the idea to replace Lamont’s grating voice with Lockwood’s love interest Kathy Selden’s.
Following Adam Garcia pulling out of the touring production due to a calf injury that occurred onstage, Don Lockwood has been played by both Grant Almirall and Rohan Browne. Tonight, Browne leads the strong cast presenting a charming, slick Lockwood who is wonderful to watch in the great dancing scenes throughout Singin’ In The Rain and his connection with love-interest Kathy Selden, played by Gretel Scarlett generally works, but appears superficial at times.
Scarlett portrays a perfect balance of innocence and strength and sounds beautiful in Would You? and You Are My Lucky Star and as the third wheel Cosmo Brown, Jack Chambers is suitably humorous with perfect facial expression shining in Moses Supposes and Make ‘Em Laugh. The three together are superb as they sing and dance up a storm in Good Mornin’. Bringing the laughs to the show is Erika Heynatz as Lina Lamont whose self-obsessed character and voice are perfectly abrasive.
Overall, the show is a wonderfully pleasant night out with terrific dancing and remarkable rain effects.
Singin’ In The Rain requires fantastic ensemble dancers and this production certainly does not disappoint. The ensemble costumes look fabulous and bright up against the versatile but bland grey set and simple lighting. The pace can be slow at times throughout, but this is more the writing of the show with minimal alterations allowed by original Director Jonathan Church or Resident Director Scott J. Hendry. The standing ovation afforded at the end of the performance certainly demonstrated Adelaide’s love for Singin’ In The Rain.
Singin’ In The Rain continues at Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times, until Fri 23 Dec.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Cover image courtesy of Jeff Busby
Centre images courtesy of Darren Thomas