The smile never left my face throughout this very polished and elegant feel-good staging of Singin’ in the Rain.
With possibly the most well-known song and dance number of all time, a plethora of classic songs, buckets full of laughs and performances that genuinely do justice to the iconic film, this show really did justify a standing ovation.
The Jonathan Church, Chichester Festival adaptation of the 1952 movie is a delight, thanks to the wealth of slickly performed dance routines, the theatrical fun of 14,000 litres of rain pouring onto the stage (and splashing the first few rows of audience members), but also, thankfully, the principal players in those oh so well-known and loved roles.
The cast performed Andrew Wright’s breath-taking choreography seemingly foot perfect as the show raced along within Simon Higlett’s clever set design.
Okay, so no-one, and I mean no one, could be Gene Kelly but Sam Lips excelled in the role of Don Lockwood with a warm voice and hot feet. Similarly, Strictly Come Dancing star Kevin Clifton was witty and charming in the comic role of Cosmo Brown. Yes, the routines are cheesy but he had perfect timing, an innocent appeal and just a little sadness as the single clown. Endlessly funny as Lina Lamont, Jenny Gayner balanced the hilarity of the ridiculous silent movies star with the snake-like bite she displayed when it came to protecting her assets. The only downside is she is too darned lovable to want to see come a cropper. Charlotte Gooch was pure delight as a rather sassy Kathy Seldon, and certainly a glorious singer and dancer which is what this production requires.
Live shows nowadays all need to end with a big high octane ending, usually involving all of the cast, so no prizes for guessing what was reprised at the end – and it is just great.
This really is a top-quality show and if you only splash out on one musical this year make it this. A glorious feeling indeed.
Until May 28.