It’s coincidental timing that Singin’ in the Rain opens in the West End around the same time as the Oscar winning movie The Artist continues to pick up awards left right and centre.
Although the 1952 movie didn’t win the ridiculous amount of trophies Michel Hazanavicius’ recent film is picking up Singin’ in the Rain has easily stood the test of time. Uttered in the same breath of all the classic celluloid delights Gene Kelly’s heart warming tale runs parallel references to The Artist. Both movies revolve around the death of the silent movie and in the case of Singin’ in the Rain what happens when your leading lady has an atrocious voice.
The screeching pair of lungs belongs to Lina Lamont, wife of well loved silent movie star Don. The pair makes up a good team in the movie business, but when Monumental Pictures decide they need to release a talking film to rival a successful film (The Jazz Singer) the studio have a problem on their hands, Lina’s awful voice. Salvation comes from Kathy Selden, an attractive young lady Don bumps into when bunking off a screening of one of his movies. A plan is put together so Kathy can secretly dub Lina’s voice in the studio’s debut musical film, The Dancing Cavalier but when Lina finds out she is doesn’t take the news lightly especially when she realises her husband is in love with his new co-star.
The stage adaption elegantly captures the 20’s feel, when films are projected onto screens you tend to forget the London streets outside the Palace theatres are packed with mobile phone callers and car sat-navigation systems trying to work out how to avoid the unavoidable busy traffic.
Another artistic touch sees the theatre’s aisle double up for the red carpet for Don Lockwood’s premiere and a biplane flying into the stage production for the ‘Beautiful Girl’ number is a sheer west-end delight.
Singin’ in the Rain also brings sunshine to the audience faces, humour runs through this two hour plus production albeit the speech tutors which pr-empts the magical Moses Supposes number, Lina attempting to use a microphone and Cathy murdering a song after finding out about her husband’s secret rendezvous.
Amid the other classic numbers such as ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Make ‘em Laugh’ there is of course ‘that song’ with ‘that dance routine’. The actual performance of Singin’ in the Rain sees a downpour of water on stage gracefully yet furiously splattered across the first few rows of the audience, not once, but twice during the evening and is undoubtedly the most memorable occasion of this glitzy and glamorous stage production.
Singin’ in the Rain will have you Dancin’ in the aisles (feel free to use that tag line for any forthcoming advertising!)
Singin’ in the Rain is currently on at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in London. There is a side exit for wheelchairs. Accessible toilet, Infa-red system with headsets and an Induction loop available at the Box Office.
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