Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  London Theatre Reviews

 
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
at Palace Theatre

LIGHTNING DOESN'T STRIKE TWICE
By MATT WINDMAN

  Ph: Manuel Harlan

Back in the 1980s, Broadway was awash in stage versions of classic movie musicals like 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Meet Me in St. Louis, most of which quickly flopped. That same spirit has now invaded London’s West End, which is offering productions of Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz and Top Hat.

Jonathan Church’s handsome staging of Singin’ in the Rain, which premiered a year ago at Chichester Theatre Festival and has now transferred to the Palace Theatre, presents a serious dilemma for fans of the much beloved 1952 film, including myself. Although we are inevitably tempted to see it, if just for the sheer thrill of hearing its cheery Arthur Freed score live, or to see how the title song is handled with gallons of poured water, it must compete against our indelible memories of the film.

Except for an additional song or two, the stage version essentially replicates the screenplay. It’s the Roaring Twenties and silent screen stars Don Lockwood (Adam Cooper) and Lina Lamont (Katherine Kingsley) are breezily living the high life – until technology creeps up on them and they are expected to speak on film. In light of Lina’s nasal, irritating voice and self-loving attitude, Lockwood and pal Cosmo Brown (Daniel Crossley) secretly enlist chorus girl Kathy Selden (Scarlett Strallen), also Don’s love interest, to lip-synch for Lina for their new movie.

In addition to the title song, the score also includes classic ditties like “Make ‘Em Laugh,” “Good Morning, Good Morning” and “Moses Sipposes.” Of course, the film is best remembered for the athletic and exceptional dancing of Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor alongside the sweet and pure Debbie Reynolds. It even came to a halt just to show off Kelly dancing alongside the sexy Cyd Charisse in the lengthy “Broadway Rhythm” production number.

Although inspired by and rooted in the film, Andrew Wright’s lively choreography still manages to be stunning on its own terms. The title song, which closes the first act, is especially wonderful, with Cooper joyfully splashing puddles of water onto the front few rows of the audience. A heavy supply of water is provided, and stagehands spend all of intermission wiping it away. A reprise at curtain call has the entire cast forming geometric Busby Berkeley formations with multicolored umbrellas.

There are quite a few showstoppers, and you can certainly appreciate Cooper’s cool and dashing spirit and Kingsley’s exaggerated clowning. The orchestra, situated above the audience, sounds terrific. Still, it’s hard to laugh at jokes you’ve heard before or be surprised by the same plot twists. Singin’ in the Rain, although well meant and pleasant, is simply unnecessary. 

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.