Sunday, August 11, 2013

'Singin' in the Rain' - didn't get wet!

Trying to post some of these old reviews here...

This was my second visit to Singin' in the Rain and a very impromptu one for that matter. I found earlier on in the day that Charlotte Scott, the understudy for the female lead, would be playing Kathy Selden that night and of course I had to go and support Charlotte. For those of you who haven't read my blog before, Charlotte used to be one of the understudies for Glinda in Wicked and she is a phenomenal triple threat performer. This was my opportunity to see the show again as well which I had planned on doing because when I went to see it in August last year, I had a balcony seat and could see very little.

Singin' In The Rain
Singin' in the Rain at Palace Theatre, London
Performance: Tuesday 9th April 2013 at 19:30
Seat: Row F Stalls, bought just before the show for £25
Cast included: Matthew Malthouse (Don Lockwood, u/s), Stephane Anelli (Cosmo Brown), Charlotte Scott (Kathy Selden, u/s), Jennifer Ellison (Lina Lamont), Peter Forbes (R F Simpson)

This time round I had a brilliant seat which was just out of the catchment area of the splashes so I had great fun sitting and watching everyone in front of me getting wet (for those of you who don't know, this West End production has actual rain falling on stage and the actors enjoy kicking the water into the audience so if you sit in the first 3-4 rows, you tend to get wet). The tourists, to begin with blissfully unaware of what they had put themselves in for by sitting at the front, were the most entertaining.

Plot summary (the plot closely follows that of the 1952 film of the same name): Set in 1927, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are a famous on-screen couple during the silent film era in Hollywood. According to Don, their relationship is strictly professional despite Lina's objections and the wedding rumours circulated by fan magazines. Don bumps into Kathy Selden, an aspiring actress with both singing and dance talent, and falls for her, which Lina certainly is not pleased about. At the same time, the audiences are going crazy about the newest invention in the film industry, the 'talking picture'. Will Lockwood&Lamont, who have up to now been known for their looks alone, be able to continue satisfying their fans? And what about Kathy?

Poster for the West End production. (Source)
 Singin' in the Rain is in the style of a traditional Hollywood musical. Not only is the plot the same as in the film; the whole show is very, very similar. Personally I really enjoy the old-fashioned style for those long dance breaks in the music for grand ensemble numbers and the often featured tap dancing.

Charlotte did a wonderful job as Kathy. It was great to see and hear her performing again. She really does have an exceptionally beautiful voice and I have never seen her tap before so that was new. She and Matthew, who played Don, had a lovely chemistry between them. Stephane Anelli as Cosmo did an excellent, hilarious performance of Make 'em Laugh, one of my favourite songs from the show. Frankie Jenna's dance solo also deserves a mention as I was in total awe of her. In terms of Lina Lamont, I had really enjoyed Katherine Kingsley's portrayal of the character back in August and I knew topping that would be quite impossible. That is one difficult part to play, I must say. She is one of those unintentionally funny characters, funny without realising or thinking she is funny, so if you try to play her funny or over the top (which is also very easily done), it doesn't work. Katherine Kingsley, for me, found the perfect balance.

I do recommend this show both for those people who have seen the original film and for those who haven't. Seeing a musical live is an experience on a whole new level to just seeing something on a screen. Watching it rain inside is a surreal experience for a start. Singin' in the Rain is currently on a UK tour. 

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