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BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, Sadler's Wells


The two main supporting roles steal the show, along with the spectacular set-piece choreography

BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, Sadler's Wells

BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, Sadler's Wells In typical British summer fashion, it was raining outside Sadler's Wells on the evening of 5 August. Less typically, however, it was also raining inside, as the theatre has welcomed a revival of the 2011 Chichester production of Singin' in the Rain.

Let's be honest, for all that it's a classic, the central story isn't that great. It's basically boy (Don Lockwood, a charmingly understated Adam Cooper) meets girl (Kathy Selden, beautifully played by Charlotte Gooch), they fall in love, encounter some hiccups, but eventually all comes good. The story perhaps isn't helped by some lulls between big production numbers which are occasionally a touch too long, slowing the overall pace. But let's be honest about something else too; the story is only really in a supporting role for this particular evening at the theatre.

Talking of supporting roles, it's the two key supporting actors who steal the show. In those roles this time around are Kevin Clifton of Strictly Come Dancing fame (as Cosmo Brown) and Faye Tozer, previously of Steps (as Lina Lamont).

Clifton's dancing prowess, of course, was never in doubt. He taps and spins and leaps around the stage with flair, shining in particular in his big solo number Make 'Em Laugh (though sensibly stopping short of trying to run up a wall like Donald O'Connor in the movie) and the three-handed Good Morning, where Cooper and Gooch match him step for step. He also proves he has great comedic skills and a far-more-than-passable singing voice. Well played, King Kev!

Tozer is also a bit of a revelation (at least to me, having not seen her on stage before). Her comedy acting is actuaLOL-worthy, taking Lamont's unpalatable accent and affectations to just the right degree of ridiculousness. Her solo song What's Wrong With Me? is a real joy - it's exceptionally hard for anyone musical to sing so exquisitely out of tune on purpose. Brava!

The main draw here, however, is the spectacular set-piece choreography. The whole ensemble throw themselves into the routines in a way that would put a smile on even the grumpiest of faces on the rainiest of summer nights. Truly feelgood stuff.

The big showstopper remains the title number, which sees a torrent of rain falling on Cooper as he splashes his way around the stage and delights in soaking any audience members within range. (A shout out too to the stage crew who spend most of the interval mopping to make the stage safe for Act Two.) It's become one of those modern iconic stage moments that any theatre fan should see - but take a waterproof if you have seats in the front 4 rows of the stalls and don't relish getting wet!

Singin' in the Rain is on at Sadler's Wells until 5 September 2021

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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From This Author Emma Watkins