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Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, New Wimbledon Theatre

The optimistic and feel-good show is now on tour

Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, New Wimbledon Theatre

Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, New Wimbledon Theatre As rain threatens to stop play down the road at Wimbledon's famous tennis club, it seems appropriate to be stopping by the theatre to watch Jonathan Church's stage version of Singin' In The Rain. Re-emerging after the pandemic at Sadler's Wells, the light-hearted and brightly cheerful show is now touring.

Fans of the film will be pleased to see that Church has done little to deviate from the Gene Kelly classic, bringing it to life with a slick and highly entertaining show.

The story follows a Hollywood silent film studio during the transition to the talking era. This change is at risk due to a star whose voice sounds more like a Brooklyn-born Tweedy Pie cartoon than that of a movie star. In reality, the story is paper-thin and is just used as a structure to hang the song and dance numbers upon.

Sam Lips takes over from Adam Cooper as a genuinely charming Don Lockwood. He has a smooth and charismatic stage presence, with some effortless dance moves and a silky voice.

Ross McLaren plays Don's sidekick Cosmo Brown, working incredibly hard to show all the energetic slapstick of the character. His solo "Make 'Em Laugh" is executed with aplomb, even incorporating a version of the famous run up the side of a wall from the film. McLaren is very likable in the role and has a great chemistry with Lips.

Don's love interest Kathy Selden is played by a vocally gifted Charlotte Gooch. Gooch is almost too good at the beginning of the show, which makes her persona of a struggling actress less than credible. She also lacks an element of vulnerability and is stuck with a character who is rather one-dimensional.

Jenny Gayner is funny as narcissistic silent movie star Lina. Gayner is suitably awful and outrageous in the role, with good comic timing as a diva with delusions of grandeur. "What's Wrong With Me?" is a suitably painful and amusing rendition.

The production looks very arresting. The filmed re-creations of stilted silent films are well designed, and Andrew Wright's snappy choreography is executed well by an ensemble brimming with energy and vigour. The Ballet dances are beautifully done, with a standout performance from Harriet Samuel-Grey as the seductive Broadway Melody Girl. Grant Walsh's musical direction is also full of vigour.

It is a shame that the 'will they / won't they' element of Kathy and Don's relationship is missing; there seems little doubt they will be together. This lack of jeopardy is a weak spot in the production and means the glossy and glamorous appearance never goes any deeper. Some judicious editing of a couple of the numbers would also make this overlong show feel snappier.

However, the warmth and nostalgia of the show is enough to satisfy the most hard-heated audiences, as it radiates optimism and cheer.

Singin' In The Rain is at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 2 July, then touring

Photo Credit: Johan Persson




From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan

Aliya Al-Hassan is UK Managing Editor of BroadwayWorld. A London-based theatre critic and journalist, she has a life-long passion for the arts, with a focus on theatre and opera. She is always... (read more about this author)


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