Review: Singin’ In The Rain, Festival Theatre

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Kicking up a storm of family friendly nostalgia, Singin’ in the Rain has splashed down at the Festival Theatre this week.

* * * *

Singing in the Rain at The Festival Theatre. Picture: contributed

Singing in the Rain at The Festival Theatre. Picture: contributed

Following a successful run on London’s West End, the company has taken to the road to spread the magic – complete with a tank of rain water so big you’d be forgiven for mistaking the front row of the stalls for the Somerset levels.

Infused with a riotous sense of fun, this feelgood frolic asks nothing more of its audience but to sit back and enjoy. Which, judging by the enthusiastic reaction of the crowd to the show’s water drenched finale, is just what they did.

Seamlessly choreographed and timed, the production flows easily from one scene to another. The live orchestra rises easily to the challenges of the score and finds a pleasing, if louder than necessary sound.

The ensemble is a well oiled machine, confidently flitting between scene, costume and character changes. The script is faithful to the original 1952 film adaption, yet the lengthy exposition in the first act slows down the quick fire tempo.

Particularly strong supporting performances come from Emmerdale star Maxwell Caulfield and Steps legend Faye Tozer, as Producer RF Simpson and starlet Lina Lamont. Tozer’s demanding, whiny Lina is gleefully drawn, completely embracing the character’s most annoying flaws and drawing them out with excellent comic timing.

Forming the trio that lead the show’s action, Amy Ellen Richardson as Kathy, Stephane Annelli as Cosmo Brown and Matthew Malthouse as Don, dance lightly through the script together.

Annelli and Malthouse’s on stage relationship is fresh and easy going, their friendship a strong glue that holds the story together convincingly, while Richardson garnered favourable audience attention for her renditions of You Are My Lucky Star and Would You.

The production is a beautifully formed tribute to a film that has stolen the hearts of three generations. In this day and age, however, a little modern tinkering and risk taking wouldn’t half give the cast and audience the extra thrill that the tour seems to be only just missing out on.

• Run ends March 15