SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
based on the MGM Film screenplay and adaptation by Betty Comden and Adolph Green songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed.
Chichester Festival Theatre Oaklands Park PO19 6AP In rep to 10 September 2011.
7.30pm 6-9, 26-31 July, 3, 5, 6, 8-10, 15, 18, 19, 22, 25, 27, 29 Aug, 1, 2, 5-10 Sept.
2.15pm 7, 9, 28, 30 July, 3, 6, 10, 13, 18, 19, 25, 27 Aug, 1, 7, 10 Sept.
3pm 31 July, 21 Aug.
Audio-described 8 July, 13 Aug 2.15pm, 19 Aug 7.30pm, 10 Sept 2.15pm.
BSL Signed 3 Aug 7.30pm.
Captioned 6 Aug 2.15pm.
Runs 2hr 45min One interval.
TICKETS: 01243 781312.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 5 July.
Chichester makes a big splash.
Even the weather was themed for Chichester Festival’s latest 2011 opening. A hot dry period ended in time to provide a hefty drizzle to dance our way through to opening night. Well, summers are like that, though the far heftier downpour lashing onto the Festival Theatre’s stage (and several of the front rows) for the title number is at least as arbitrary as anything in the British climate.
There again, arbitrariness applies to several numbers here. Someone remarks it’s 2am and on comes ‘Good Morning’. The film being made inside the show requires a big production number, and Singin’ acquires its big production number with ‘Broadway Melody’.
So many of them are nearly great tunes, but only ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ itself is truly, utterly unforgettable. But it’s not the only one to go down a storm in this cracking Chichester revival. Never have three horizontal torsos, displaying hefty action by hard-worked muscles, been so loudly cheered as those of Adam Cooper, Scarlett Strallen and Daniel Crossley after their final collapse following tipping themselves over a bench at the climax of ‘Good Morning’.
Apart from the singing and dancing, this is a lovely chance for theatre to have fun with cinema, as Monumental Pictures in 1927 Hollywoodland (the hillside sign, in its earlier, longer version, is there along with other references throughout to the era, as to Singin’’s original 1951 celluloid incarnation) prepares for the talkies.
Adam Cooper’s lead man finds love and a speaking, singing actress in till-then merely hopeful Kathy Seldon, while glamorous silent lead Lina Lamont uses every lack of scruple to stifle Kathy’s career and keep her own afloat. Chichester Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Church shows a sure hand manipulating the comedy of dubbing, of screeching and out-of-sync humour in the filmic insets, while Simon Higlett’s initially grey set acquires colour largely through costume and Tim Mitchell’s lighting.
Sure, it’s all fake – but even this is incorporated as Cooper’s film-star Don sets-up studio effects for his love song to Kathy. And effective is what Chichester’s production – blatant showbiz at its busiest – certainly, and superabundantly, is.
Don Lockwood: Adam Cooper.
Kathy Selden: Scarlett Strallen.
Cosmo Brown: Daniel Crossley.
Lina Lamont: Katherine Kingsley.
R F Simpson: Michael Brandon.
Roscoe Dexter: Peter Forbes.
Dora Bailey/Miss Dinsmore: Sandra Dickinson.
Production Tenor/Diction Coach: David Lucas.
Sid Phillips: Marc Antolin.
Make-up Artist: Georgie Ashford.
Cameraman: Alan Burkitt.
Rod: Brendan Cull.
Mary Margaret: Flora Dawson.
Wardrobe Mistress/Swing: Jaye Juliette Elster.
Production Secretary/Swing: Gemma Fuller.
Zelda Zanders: Nancy Wei George.
Villain/Swing: Francis Haugen.
Policeman: Matthew Malthouse.
Clyde: Scott Mobley.
Olga Mara: Ebony Molina.
Stripper: Gillian Parkhouse.
Lady in Waiting: Sherrie Pennington.
Flirty Girl: Lisa Ritchie.
Sam the Butler: Jack Wilcox.
Young Company: Joe Adams, Jay Dix, Alwyn Ebsworth-Davies, Jude Loseby.
Sound DemonstratorL: Nicholas Le Prevost.
Director: Jonathan Church.
Designer: Simon Higlett.
Lighting: Tim Mitchell.
Sound: Matt McKenzie.
Musical Director: Robert Scott.
Video: Ian William Galloway.
Choreographer: Andrew Wright.
Dialect coach: Charmian Hoare.
Fight director: Malcolm Ranson.
Assistant director: Luke Sheppard.
Assistant musical director: Phil Cornwell.
Assistant choreographer/Dance Captain: Gemma Fuller.
Assistant costume: Bill Butler.