REVIEW: Singin’ In The Rain (LWMS, Royal Spa Centre)
Imagine the challenge facing a local theatre company in staging one of the most popular film musicals of all time.
You could hardly expect a convenient studio backlot for Kenny Robinson, in the Gene Kelly part, to stamp and splash his way to musical saturation in that most iconic of title numbers. And real water? On an amateur stage?
Under the inspired direction of Stephen Duckham, Leamington and Warwick Musical Society pull out the plug – and all the stops – to create a remarkable production of a show which began life as a film with all the technical wizardry that entailed.
There is no short change here. The rain is indeed there, upstage and pouring, while outdoor filmed sequences provide a clever comic insight of the making of silent movies.
It’s a huge package of entertainment in which the company tackle wide-ranging dance demands and knockabout comedy, backed by splendid musical direction from Alastair Evans. A ready highlight is a Moses Supposes vocal training routine delightfully performed by Kenny Robinson, Matt Goodwin (in the Donald O’Connor film role) and Ben Wellicome.
This follows an attractively staged duet on You Were Meant for Me between Robinson and Hannah Hampson, a notable newcomer on the local theatre scene who acts and performs with considerable charm and vitality.
In terms of characters, the show revolves around a principal quartet, completed by the effervescent and talented Nikki Cross who renders the squeaky-voiced disaster that is Lina Lamont, the silent star whose days are numbered with the arrival of talking pictures. She and Matt Goodwin’s Cosmo effectively provide the comedy hub of the show.
Inevitably, with the scale of the whole undertaking, there are areas of weakness. The opening scenes are ponderous and the Make ‘Em Laugh section makes too many demands to be really effective. Robinson’s leading man has a few stolid moments but more than compensates with some fine singing and dancing.
The quibbles are minor, though, when ranged alongside the overall stature of a production which can be regarded as no less than a showbiz delight. Peter McGarry NB: Peter McGarry is a professional theatre critic who has agreed to write independent reviews of company productions.