Standing outside The Palace Theatre in London’s west end there is no mistaking what is being performed inside.
The oversized umbrellas and neon signs make sure that everyone around knows that Singin’ in the Rain has arrived.
It’s been a long time coming.
The Gene Kelly classic debuted on screen in 1952, and it’s only now that a realistic representation of the work has come to the stage.
From the heights of the somewhat cramped balcony (If you are tall or suffer from vertigo, Man of London thinks you should sit in the stalls below) Man Of London eagerly awaited the arrival of one’s favourite musical to the stage.
Man Of London was somewhat wary if the production would do Kelly, Reynolds and O’Connor justice, and, one was pleasantly surprised.
To put it simply, Singin’ in the Rain is the best West End show that I have seen in a long time.
The talented ensemble cast ensured that you were constantly entertained and when it came to mastering some extremely difficult dance moves, particularly in the ‘dream’ sequence where protagonist Don Lockwood (played by Adam Cooper) takes us into a vibrant and multicolored New York City, where one foot wrong by any cast member would ruin the performance.
Scarlett Strallen is fantastic as Kathy Selden, contradictory as she is powerful yet shy.
Her talent is seen to be unlocked by Lockwood and it seems as if there is nothing stopping her.
Daniel Crossley and Katherine Kingsley who play Cosmo Brown and Lina Lamont respectively provide the comic relief.
Brown’s quick whit and Lamont’s high pitched shrill ensure that a laugh is never far away.
Michael Brandon’s performance as studio head RF Simpson manages to give the performance that old Hollywood feel, and at times , makes you feel as if you are in the age of the “talkie” and that the 1930’s are just around the corner.
Mesmerising set design
The design of the set is one of the most complicated I have ever seen for the stage.
The huge backdrop of Monumental Pictures studio lot was heavily used and allowed actors to fully interact with their surroundings to really bring the script to life.
The director’s ingenious use of video clips throughout the performance allowed the stage version to stay true to the original story and perhaps that’s why the performance was so enjoyable.
Just as we see Lockwood enter the stage, water streams down from the room and, as you will notice if sitting in the higher levels of the theatre, will rise up from the floor, and in seconds the stage is flooded and, as you are warned as you enter, the first seven rows of the audience were soaked by the cast.
It’s not commonplace for one to attend a show and have absolutely no criticism of it, but there is a first for everything.
Man Of London can honestly not find fault with the performance, the cast are simply phenomenal, the production value is high and makes the performance, while interval refreshments are reasonably priced compared to some other performance spaces in theatre land.
If you’ve not bought a ticket for the production yet, what are you waiting for?