Singin’ in the Rain at Sadler’s Wells
Widely regarded as the greatest musical of all time, Singin’ in the Rain splashes back on stage at Sadler’s Wells, directed by visionary Jonathan Church. This iteration classic comedy romance about show business, filmmaking and the advent of the “talkies” is utterly charming.
Much of the premise remains the same, with Hollywood celebrity Don Lockwood making silent films alongside his co-lead Lina Lamont. Adam Cooper stars in the iconic Gene Kelly role, suave and enigmatic, with Faye Tozer perfectly cast as the snubbed heroine. Charlotte Gooch’s Kathy Selden is understated and captivating, while Kevin Clifton, as sidekick, Cosmo Brown is always on the right side of slapstick.
A film lot behind the studio Monumental Pictures is packed with an ensemble and filmmaker attempting to direct. Host Dora Bailey (Sandra Dickinson) welcomes the audience to the premiere of Don and Lina’s film, amidst clicking flashbulbs. Followed by frenzied fans, Don takes refuge in a park where he meets Kathy; their chemistry is palpable, like that of Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.
Musical director and supervisor Robert Scott captures the gilded age perfectly. Titles such as Would You and All I Do (Is Dream of You) are brought to vivid life by the orchestra, and Good Morning is performed outside – but the wonderful bench flip endures.
Constantly rebuffed Lina is magnificently portrayed by Tozer, who practically steals the show. Her take on the screeching starlet is flawless, garnering many of the night’s hearty laughs. In such memorable scenes as the one in Elizabethan costume, Tozer is a sensation. In contrast with the portrayal in the film, one feels a little sympathy for her, particularly in the musical number What’s Wrong with Me?
Dance sequences are abundant, incorporating tap, swing and ballet. Church’s direction and choreography by Andrew Wright enrich the adaptation spectacularly. The era is exquisitely presented, with fitting props and striking, colourful costumes, while Ian Galloway’s video design and Simon Higlett’s sets feature a projected screen descending to show the film scenes Don and Lina appear in.
And of course, who could forget the most distinct and romantic rainy arrangement, this time in a slower tempo. With real water on stage, viewers should prepare to get soaked if they’re in the first few rows; 14,000 litres are released every performance, with Cooper delighting in making a big splash.
There is so much to be said, but one thing is for sure, Singin’ in the Rain is not to be missed. This is a production guaranteed to make its audience beam, and one that will leave them singing and dancing in all weather.
Photos: Manuel Harlan
Singin’ in the Rain is at Sadler’s Wells from 30th July until 5th August 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.