Singin' in the Rain

One of the most famous films of all time Singin in the Rain has had a number of revivals as a stage production over the years and this is the latest.  Jointly produced by the New Vic Theatre (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Octagon Theatre (Bolton) and Salisbury Playhouse this production brings a fresh and modern interpretation of the classic whilst also remaining true to the shows heritage.

Featuring classic songs including: Make 'Em Laugh, Good Morning and of course Singin' In the Rain the show is a toe tapping favourite from the off.  As is the norm for a New Vic production the actors are highly versatile, one moment tap dancing across the stage or singing their heart out and then the next sat behind a keyboard or playing a trumpet to accompany somebody else.

In this production nearly all of the actors are new to the New Vic and all are highly impressive.  The lead role, played in the film by Gene Kelly, of Don Lockwood is played by Matthew Croke.  Croke puts his own stamp on the tap and other dance numbers throughout the show and creates a real warmth between his character and the audience thorughout the show.  Of course the main highlight is just before the interval when the first few rows must don their fetching waterproof ponchos to avoid Croke's enthusiastic, polished and highly entertaining routine of the shows title number on a stage that becomes very wet.

Another of the stand out moments for me came from Christian Edwards, who plays Cosmo Brown.  Edwards uses his impeccable comic timing and huge talent to keep the audience roaring with laughter but also amazed at his talent when he performs 'Make 'Em Laugh' in the first half of the show.  This is the point when the audience realise that the talent is spread around the entire cast and not just the leading few.

The set has been cleverly designed to make the audience feel truly included in the action.  The layout of the New Vic means the audience are always close to the action but can sometimes feel excluded.  To produce a musical of this scale in such a small and intimate setting and include the entire audience (the theatre is in the round) takes true talent not just from the cast but from the designers as well.  The projections used at various points create some great comedy moments and really help the audience feel like they are in the show with the cast.  The highlight though will always be the famous rain scene which must be seen to be believed.

This is a show packed so full with talent that it is fit to burst.  The audience were left feeling wowed by the whole experience and desperate for more, exactly how an audience should be left.  If you want a show that will entertain, amaze and leave you slightly awestruck then this is the one for you, get your tickets now before it is too late!

Reviewed by Daniel Keen at the New Vic Theatre.