Singing in the Rain, Birmingham Hippodrome, until 11 June 2022 and touring, 5***** David & Paul Gray

The action takes place on a stage in a film studio, an appropriate setting for a musical about Hollywood’s sometimes painful transition from silent to talking pictures.  The walls are brick, covered with metallic paint, as though we are in a factory glossed with a patina of glamour, which is, I suppose, the reality of the film industry.  At the back of the set the is a wide archway.  It looks like a proscenium arch; we are watching a story about storytelling.  The top left of the arch is decorated with elaborate French Baroque style flourishes, the right side with geometric patterns. A metaphor, perhaps, for the conflict between the old and the new.  It’s good to have a thoughtful set that interacts so well with ideas in the drama.

The cast explodes onto the stage during the overture bringing with them, as they dance, the paraphernalia of film making.  One of the brilliant features of this show is the young and vibrant ensemble.  In addition to filling the stage with energy during one big production number after another, they also provide continuity and momentum by dancing though all the transitions between scenes and supporting the main character during many of the musical numbers that are traditionally solos.  This helps create complex and hilarious sight gags, as for example in Make ’em Laugh.

You’ll notice I’ve used the word dance a few times so far.  This is first and foremost a dance musical and the dancing is epic.  Not just in terms of the number of dancers involved, but in terms of broad, expansive shapes, big lifts, and lots of travel that really makes the most of the space.  Big iconic numbers, like the utterly brilliant Good Morning, combine detail and sweep.  There is more tap than you can shake a stick at, and it’s all so polished.

The principals are uniformly strong.  Ross McLaren’s Cosmo Brown never lets up on the laughs but keeps the ham out by never overdoing it.  Jenny Gayner as comic villain Lina Lamont has enormous fun torturing the English Language to death; I’ve never heard so many syllables crammed into the word ‘flirting’.  Sam Lips and Charlotte Gooch as romantic leads Don Lockwood and Kathy Selden are charming, charismatic and have great chemistry together.

But, in truth, this is an ensemble show that values and shines a light at everyone on the stage.  The warmth of this warms the audience and the inclusiveness draws us in.


Don Lockwood – Sam Lips

Kathy Selden – Charlotte Gooch

Cosmo Brown – Ross LcLaren

Lina Lamont – Janny Gayner

Zelder Zanders – Imogen Brooke

Dialect Coach – Alastair Crosswell

Production Tenor – Alex Given

Policeman – Robin Kent

Roscoe Dexter – Michael Matus

Rod – Peter Nash

RF Simpson – Dale Rapley

Broadway Melody Girl – Harriet Samuel-Gray

Sid – Ben Whitnall


Director – Jonathan Church

Choreographer – Andrew Wright

Set & Costume Designer – Simon Higlett

Sound Designer – Gareth Owen

Lighting Designer – Tim Mitchell

Musical Director – Grant Walsh

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