Extra Review: Singin’ in the Rain, Theatre Royal

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It’s not often you’ll find Glaswegians queuing up to see it rain.

In fact, you’re far more likely at the Theatre Royal - in the middle of a revamp — to be queuing for a toilet...such were the lines of ladies snaking down the grand staircase this week.

Still, it’s fair to say that the audience had water on the brain, having come out in force to see the Chichester Festival Theatre’s tour of Singin’ in the Rain.

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It’s a lights blazing, toes tapping, rip-roaring production with plenty of laughs, staying true to the original 1952 movie and giving a packed audience exactly what they want.

Set in the late 20s, the action follows Monumental Pictures as its movie bosses and silent screen stars navigate their way through the arrival of the talkies.

Leading man Don Lockwood (James Leece) might just make the cross over — but there seems little hope for the co-star he barely tolerates, the flouncing Lina Lamont (Vicky Binns).

Don’s sidekick Cosmo has a plan — to dub Lina’s voice with that of a chorus girl on the up, Kathy Selden (Amy Ellen Richardson) — but will the leading lady take it lying down?

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Leece and Richardson are convincing as the straight love interests, although most of the attention goes to the excellent Stephane Anelli as Cosmo Brown - playing for laughs with some dedicated full-body slapstick — and, of course, Binns as the ear-piercing Lina.

The 20s flapper and slick-suited costumes are lavish and lovely, the songs recognisable to all and the dance sequences fluid and entertaining (not least the tap numbers) — although, much like the original, an extended Broadway Ballet (Gotta Dance) scene in act two drags a little.

Still, that could be because the big pay off arrives at the end of act one — and what a pay off it is.

With a downpour of 12,000 litres per performance, the title song is perfectly executed; fun, gleeful and a happy refrain indeed — even if more than a few audience members are caught in the downpour as well.

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It’s a testament to the skill of the company involved that the rain scene (a Hollywood history moment if ever there was one) is faultless, heartwarming and genuinely funny — and the result is a sing-along show that will melt the heart of any theatregoer, musical fan or otherwise.

Catch Singin’ in the Rain at the Theatre Royal until August 23 — for ticket info, visit the Theatre Royal website.