Review Round-up: Critics Left Singin\' in the Rain?
Chichester\'s artistic director Jonathan Church helms the production which stars ballet dancer Adam Cooper, West End favourite Scarlett Strallen, Daniel Crossley and Katherine Kingsley, supported by an energetic ensemble who showcase Andrew Wright\'s choreography.
A reworking of the 1952 Hollywood film, Singin\' In the Rain sees silent movie star Don Lockwood (Cooper) and his problematic on and off screen love life involving actresses Lina Lamont (Kingsley) and Kathy Selden (Strallen).
The musical continues its run at Chichester\'s Festival Theatre until 10 September 2011.
\"Jonathan Church\'s clever production pulls out all the stops... (he) 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 ¡ª 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 ¡ª the \'Singin\' in the Rain\' routine brings the house down ... 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.\"
\"Nothing beats the swing and precision of a ballet-trained leg for propelling rainbow skeins of water through an auditorium ... It is Adam Cooper\'s Don Lockwood ¡ª athletic and joyful, charming and cheesy, boyish and truthful ... Andrew Wright\'s choreography exploits both the balletic grace of the star and the raunchy show-dance idiom ... Scarlett Strallen is a beguiling Kathy, evoking stroppiness and hurt as well as being able to leap from a champagne tower. Katherine Kingsley does a wonderful job, too, as the shrill, deluded, peroxide silent-movie star with a helium New Yoik twang. She bravely sings out of tune while brandishing a formidable marabou-trimmed cleavage ¡ª a comedy talent to watch. Daniel Crossley fizzes hilarious energy as the show-stopping Cosmo. Altogether, fab summer fun. Jonathan Church\'s direction leaves no absurdity unserved: priceless silent-movie spoofs are done live and on the big screen (honour to Ian William Galloway\'s video design). Oh, and on no account leave early. It\'s not over till ¡ª never mind.\"
\"Masses of stage rain falls and it is gaily kicked around by the hoofers. This is a night of well choreographed dancing, tight; acting and decent, sometimes excellent singing. The tunes and good, with one of them (you know which) a classic ... Adam Cooper, as Lockwood, soon recovers from a duff first note in his second number \'You Stepped Out Of A Dream\'. Mr Cooper may not be Caruso but he is fit and has a certain charm. He is also well matched with Scarlett Strallen\'s Kathy. Miss Strallen has that Doris Day gift of being harmoniously beautiful without being aggressively sexy. She dances brilliantly and is perfectly cast as the modest outsider. Katherine Kingsley\'s Lina Lamont has a larynx to make an SAS regiment shrink into the shadows ... Amid the other performances, Daniel Crossley stands out as Lockwood\'s friend Cosmo while in the chorus line an Amazonian beauty called Ebony Molina will have chaps missing their Revels packets. Five stars all round. Great night.\'
\"The title song is terrific. The brolly-brandishing Adam Cooper splashes about in the rain with infectiously childish glee ... But, although Jonathan Church\'s revival is near flawless, the show inevitably feels like a replica of the 1952 movie, rather than a true original ... The real pleasure of the show lies in the staging of individual numbers, very well choreographed by Andrew Wright. The undoubted highlight is \'You Were Meant for Me\', in which Cooper and Scarlett Strallen... float lyrically across a Hollywood sound-stage suddenly filled with artificial mist and sunbeams ... All the leads are highly engaging, and momentarily supplant memories of their screen forebears. Michael Brandon as a studio boss and Peter Forbes as a harassed Busby Berkeley-like director lend weight to the supporting roles. The video recreations of silent movies, with titles like The Duelling Cavalier, are also exceptionally well done by Ian William Galloway. In the end, it\'s hard to resist a show staged with such brio, even if it is no more than a dazzling carbon-copy of the best movie musical ever.\"
\"A constantly fizzing production by Chichester\'s artistic director, Jonathan Church, stylishly designed by Simon Higlett and with a company working as a brilliantly drilled ensemble rather than merely propping up a creaky star vehicle, the show creates a buzz of pure pleasure ... Its secret weapon is the choreographer Andrew Wright, who fills the stage with dancing of superb vitality and style ... Nor is the movie followed too slavishly. The celebrated title number achieves its own theatrical dynamic... and the comic routine of \'Make \'em Laugh\' has been wittily reinvented ... Adam Cooper dances, hoofs and taps with such panache that you forget about Gene Kelly ... Scarlett Strallen has a lovely sweetness as his beloved Kathy; Daniel Crossley catches all the humour of the best friend, Cosmo; and Katherine Kingsley proves a squeaky, screechy delight as the Hollywood star Lina Lamont, whose hilariously grating Noo Yoik accent renders her hopeless for the talkies. The combination of viciousness and unexpected pathos she achieves in the role proves one of this show\'s many unforgettable pleasures.\"
- Caitlin Robertson