Having been indoctrinated on 50s films by my mother (and beginning to realise she was right about them being brilliant), I booked a birthday trip to the tour of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Having heard about the gallons of rain used in every performance, I was definitely intrigued as to the style of this performance.
As expected, it stays true to the film; I’m not sure it would ever work having an individual or modern take on such a classic film. Don Lockwood was classically gorgeous, Cosmo was the perfect comic best friend, and Lina Lamont was just spectacular. The only character I perhaps had some doubts over was Kathy Seldon initially, but I warmed to her throughout. I think it’s probably my own fault; I expected Debbie Reynolds in her calm sophistication, and considering Kathy is the antidote to Lina, the original scenes with her in the musical were a bit too high pitched and frantic to really capture that. However, this did evolve throughout to present a Kathy we fell in love with, just as Don does, through her humility and grace in the face of the dog-whistle-resembling tones of Lina Lamont.
And it doesn’t seem right not to shine a light on Lina and Cosmo – by far they were my favourite actors in the troupe. Lina and her hilarious attempts to say ‘can’t’ was spot on in creating this caricature of a Hollywood starlet who is betrayed by advancing technology. Likewise, Cosmo was a star in his own right, not at all reliant on Don in providing comedy gold – the only one able to get away with openly mocking Lina, and the one able to make light relief of what could be overly-serious moments. His rendition of ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ was so well staged, everything knitted together to perfection in order to appear ridiculous and well-crafted simultaneously.
The rain sequence was also spectacular (although I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the front row!). As with every number, the choreography was superb – I’ve never enjoyed tap-dancing so much! Sometimes there were elements of the modern thrown in which, from my points of view, I wasn’t as keen on when I was looking for the 1920s glamour. Overall, though, it was evident that every movement on that stage had been considered and purposefully crafted to an element of near perfection.
The magic and splendour of the original ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ was definitely recaptured on stage at the Hippodrome to spectacular effect – if you have the chance, say good evening (and good morning!) to the musical as it sings through rain and shine!