REVIEW: Singin’ In the Rain, Sadler’s Wells

Bringing plenty of Hollywood glamour and class, Jonathan Church’s production of the classic musical is stunning from start to finish.

(c) Manuel Harlan

How appropriate it was to be caught out in the rain as I headed to see this gloriously glamorous production of Singin’ In The Rain, helping to add to the excitement of finally getting to see this classic musical on stage.

Adapted from the 1952 film starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor, the story focuses on the time when talking pictures were being discovered as the next big development in cinema history. Underneath this, Singin’ In The Rain follows the story of Don Lockwood a major Hollywood star who soon sees upheavals in his personal and professional life – meeting actress Kathy Selden and falling for but complicated by the behaviour of his co-star Lina who will do anything to keep a hold on Don.

(c)Manuel Harlan

Jonathan Church’s beautifully stylish production really captures the spirit and style of the film, offering so many delightful moments of attention to detail that brings out the best in the cast. Visually, it is certainly a production to be admired – particularly thanks to moments in which Ian William Galloway’s video design makes the audience feel as though they are in the cinema, while the way in which ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is staged to cause a splash but never feels like a gimmick.

Meanwhile, there is so much to enjoyed elsewhere to, with Simon Higlett’s impressive Hollywood styled set design and sumptuous costumes that really bring the 1920’s to life with great style. Combined with Andrew Wright’s absolutely beautiful choreography, it makes you see the musical in a new light. In particular, it made me rethink the song ‘You Were Meant For Me’ which is not usually one of my favourite scenes in the film, but here thanks to Wright’s delicate choreography it takes on a whole new poignant meaning, while the ballet sequence is a real explosion of colour and life that is somewhat dazzling.

(c)Manuel Harlan

It is also a production that is filled with nice characterisations that see the cast all managing to make their own mark on these iconic characters. In particular, of course Adam Cooper as Don Lockwood has some rather large shoes to fill – but he does so admirably with great charm and confidence. Just watching the joyful way in which he performs ‘Singin’ in the Rain is one of the many highlights of this production, with his dancing being wonderfully expressive.

Elsewhere, there is great support from Kevin Clifton as Cosmo Brown, Don’s best friend who always seems to be the third wheel in any situation. He delivers a goofy and endearing performance that can’t fail to put a smile on the audience’s face – his energy through ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ is really impressive. Charlotte Gooch as Kathy is graceful and elegant, ideally partnered with Adam Cooper, with their dancing to ‘You Were Meant For Me’ proving to be a real highlight. But Faye Tozer was the real surprise of the evening, really getting to grips with Lina’s manipulative ways hilariously but also managing to make her likeable (even if of course that doesn’t last long!) that you do find yourself feeling sorry for her when everyone gangs up on her because of how she speaks.

Funny, glamorous and immensely enjoyable to watch from start to finish this is a production that reveals just how timeless this musical is.

By Emma Clarendon

Singin’ In The Rain continues to play at Sadler’s Wells until the 5th September. To book tickets visit: Love, Theatre Tickets Direct, or London Theatre Direct .

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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