by Jon Dean
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
New Singin’ In The Rain musical at the Palace Theatre reviewed by Jon Dean
The launch of a new big-budget West End show is always exciting and when it’s at the rather grand Palace Theatre, recently home of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, anticipation reaches fever pitch.
So it was an animated audience that awaited the latest stage adaptation of the classic 1950s musical Singin’ In The Rain.
The story is faithful to the film, and is set in Hollywood during the transition from silent film to “talkies”. Screen hero Don Lockwood falls for stage actress Kathy Selden, much to the chagrin of his nasally-voiced leading lady Lina Lamont.
Various pranks ensue as Monumental Pictures attempt to make their first talking film, while dealing with Lamont’s grating tones and unrequited love for Lockwood.
It’s pure entertainment - the songs are classics, the tap dancing is fantastic and the choreography top notch.
Cosmo Brown (Daniel Crossley), who is a brilliant comedy foil throughout, performs some immaculately timed acrobatics for Make ‘em Laugh, and Good Morning is performed with joy and vigour.
Scarlett Strallen is splendid as the angel-voiced Kathy Selden, and Katherine Kingsley plays the obnoxious Lina Lamont with aplomb.
But the big question; how to recreate the title track - one of the most famous scenes in cinema?
By soaking the audience it seems. Gallons of rain team down onto the stage while Adam Cooper, excellent as Don Lockwood, sings, spins round a lamp post and gleefully kicks moist arcs of water into the shrieking crowd. Priceless.
* Singin’ In The Rain is at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1, until September 29, 2012.