Jonathan Church's clever production pulls out all the stops. All productions of this show are going to suffer in some way because theatregoers will have seen the film version and most will be mentally comparing the two. But Church brings out some touches of individuality, even if he can’t quite banish memories of Gene Kelly et al.
There’s some clever work with the film extracts. Ian Galloway has made the most of the medium and captures the awkwardness of the era as the industry tries to move between silent movies and talkies.
I’m not sure about Adam Cooper’s Don. Yes, of course, he dances superbly and the big numbers really do hit the spot – fantastic choreography from Andrew Wright - but his acting is wooden, his singing voice is nothing special and he doesn’t really have the comic timing to bring out the best of the role. You forget all this when he’s dancing – the "Singin' in the Rain" routine brings the house down but there’s also a madcap "Moses Supposes" and a zestful "Good Morning" too.
The rest of the cast are wonderful: Scarlett Strallen and Daniel Crossley shine as Kathy and Cosmo, Michael Brandon does sterling work as the harassed head of the studio and Peter Forbes excels as the director. The standout performance is Katherine Kingsley’s Lina Lamont, who has the best lines and, with her sure comic touch, makes the most of them.
This is the terrifically warming night out. It’s a show packed with verve and wit. I’m not sure that it can totally throw off the shackles of the Hollywood version but then it’s up against stiff competition.
- Maxwell Cooter