Theatre review: Singin’ in the Rain (West End, London)
Palace Theatre, London, Cambridge Circus,
Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1V 8AY
Map to the Palace Theatre (click here)
Review by: Alexa Williamson
Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5)
For those who love musicals and imparticular 1950s (American) musicals, then look no further than this beautiful show as it has excellent costumes, singing, dancing, sets and lighting and takes place in a beautiful theatre with lots of beautiful architectural features (the theatre was built in 1888). Based on the 1952 film of the same name, this is the story of Hollywood actor Don Lockwood and his leading lady Lina Lamont, as well as budding actress Cathy Selden and Lockwood’s “buddy” Cosmo Brown. Don and Lina make beautiful films together and Lina is very beautiful but has one of the worst accents and squeakiest voices that anyone can image. So, the films the two make look good but don’t sound good. Therefore, enter Cathy Selden who must does the voiceovers but is given no credit for her part in the films. While Lina is bold, outgoing and bubbly like a high-achieving actress might be, Cathy is modest, humble and quietly beautiful. Lina also likes to think that Don is in love with her although he isn’t .
The musical focusses on the antics of the characters and the love story between Don and Cathy, with Lina getting her nose constantly put “out of joint” by Don not being in love with her. The entire piece is a showstopper and the acting by Adam Cooper as Don, Scarlet Strallen as Cathy and Katherine Kingsley as Lina is powerful and well targeted. The costumes are also spot-on for the era and the fabrics and colours are wonderful – whether it’s a shimmering gold dress that Lina is wearing, one of Cathy’s shimmering dresses, a well-cut suit worn by the men or women or one of the myriad of brightly coloured dresses that actresses float by in. The sets are also great, and again, they are “period” sets. The lighting is also nice as it intense and makes the whole piece have a humour to it, yes, but also an intensity of bursting energy and song. Two of my favourite numbers were the headlining song “Singin’ in the Rain” when Selden does the number on stage by himself and the group number of the song in the finale as well as the fantastically costumed and high-energy ”Good Morning”. And during both “Singin in the Rains” it also, fantastically, rains on stage. Fortunately, no matter what the “weather” Selden, Strallen and the cast have heavenly voices – especially the leading man and lady.
So, if you’re looking for a fantastic evening, look no further than this show! And a thank you to director Jonathan Church, choreographer Andrew Wright, designer Simon Higlett, lighting designer Tim Mitchell, sound designer Matt McKenzie, musical director and supervisor Robert Scott, associate costume designer and costumer supervisor Bill Butler and many others in the creative team, cast and more!