Singin’ in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain is one of the most well-known musicals of all time. After being adapted from the 1952 movie of the same name it has been performed to audience countless times. This brave new adaptation by The New Vic Theatre, Octagon Theatre Bolton and Salisbury Playhouse puts a fresh spin on the classic musical.

In fact this is a rare opportunity to see a musical in the round, which is always an engaging and highly enjoyable experience.

The musical is set in Hollywood and follows the story of Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, the leading couple of the silent picture who are loved by audiences but can’t stand one another. When the idea of the talking picture is introduced a new problem for the pair arises as Lina’s vocal capability is far from appropriate for the big screen. Cue chorus girl Kathy Selden who, as of yet, has not had her big chance to step into the lime light and is drafted in to be the voice of Lina Lamont, which sets off a chain reaction of events.

Matthew Croke in Singin' in the Rain at Salisbury Playhouse - Credit Richard Davenport

This talented twelve-strong cast provide the music throughout the show and are all individually talented musicians, actors and dancers. Matthew Croke is charismatic as Don Lockwood particularly in the iconic scene at the end of Act One when he dances through the rain – yes the rain!

Sarah Vezmar is perfect as Lina Lamont, her high squeaky voice and portrayal of the Hollywood diva is flawless, providing pure comedy moments throughout the show. More humour comes from Christian Edwards playing the entertaining Cosmo Brown, Lockwood’s right hand man.

Other stand out performances included Eleanor Brown as the down to earth, beautiful and talented Kathy Selden who steals Don Lockwood’s heart.

Set and Lighting Designer Ciaran Bagnall has excelled himself in this production, not least by creating rain on stage which looked incredibly impressive and was a real highlight. This also led to a number of opportunities for audience participation as the first two rows of the round were issued with bright yellow mac’s so as to not be splashed by Croke as he pirouetted through the puddles.

It is a long show, the first act being around 90 minutes and whilst the cast deliver the script extremely well, it doesn’t move as quickly or keep you hooked quite as much as more recent work. Perhaps not aided by some of the vocals being hard to hear in parts, particularly over the band, which no doubt will be corrected.

The spectacular moments of the production certainly lift the audience who were notably loud at the end of Act 1 and on their feet by the end of Act 2. The second act flows much quicker as the drama unfolds and finishes with the iconic finale.

The script is much older than most musicals and Elizabeth Newman has produced a stunning and modern take on this classic. This is without doubt one of the best productions of Singin’ in the Rain that you will see.

Fans of the film are going to love it. It is more than worth the ticket price.

Singin’ in the Rain plays at the New Vic Theatre until Saturday 16th July. Tickets can be purchased at the New Vic Theatre website.

Review by Rob Stanway & Kath Walton.

Photography by Richard Davenport

Singing In The Rain Photo Credit: The Other Richard

About Author /

Rob Stanway is the Founder of At The Theatre. He has reviewed the UK's best touring theatre (and much of the west end) for this website since 2005.

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