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Singin' In The Rain at Birmingham Hippodrome - Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Review of iconic musical of Gene Kelly film
Gene Kelly singing and dancing ecstatically in the rain in the movie has to be the best-choreographed scene of any musical. The joy it brings has been etched on my memory since a child avidly lapping up the film every Christmas.

Now, this feel-good tale is back with a stage tour and at Birmingham Hippodrome for a week until Saturday June 11. But will it be dripping in the same nostalgia and romance that brought to life Hollywood's golden age?

Singin' in the Rain is set in the 1920s when emerging 'talkie' films pose a threat to stars of silent movies. Hero Don Lockwood is in a safe position through this transition but not so much for his on-screen romantic partner Lina Lamont, whose squeaky voice won't work in the brave new world.

Layered over that storyline is Don's burgeoning romance with chorus girl Kathy Selden, whose talents could save the film from ruin when she offers to let the studio use her beautiful singing and speaking voice to dub over Lina.

What makes this musical so strong is a meaty storyline along with timeless songs and famous dance routines that had Gene Kelly's fine-tuning stamped all over them.

This new production by Jonathan Church is already critically acclaimed and that's due to him being respectful to the original while adding some ingenuity and extra humour.

Singing in the rain, Birmingham Hippodrome, review
Big dance routines in Singing in the Rain

Church keeps things fresh, particularly through comedy players of Lina and Cosmo, played heartily by Jenny Gayner and Ross McLaren. There's an interactive feel too with a screen turning the theatre into a cinema to watch Lockwood and Lamont's movie releases.

Plus there are a lot of nods to the famous film, especially in the choreography that keeps those who love the movie happy. Cosmo still somersaults against a wall during 'Make Em Laugh' and there's the dancing over a bench (rather than sofa) in 'Good Mornin'.

Then there's the iconic 'Singin' In The Rain' routine that cleverly takes on a life of its own as rain pours onto the stage, drowning it in water. Sam Lips as Don really comes into his own, splashing some of the audience with good humour during his impressive routine with an umbrella.

How he manages it dance so immaculately in the heavy rain without slipping is beyond me. It's a spectacular close to the first act and makes you realise how slick and big-budget this production is.

Singing in the rain, Birmingham Hippodrome, review
The Ballet is a dazzling Broadway Melody routine

There are huge song and dance routines throughout to numbers like 'Beautiful Girl', the tap-dancing showstopper 'Moses Supposes' and the dazzling two-part 'Broadway Melody Ballet'. That includes steamy jazz moves by dancer Harriet Samuel-Gray who steals the limelight for once from Lips.

Amongst the laughter, it's dreamily romantic too thanks to Lips' smooth voice, especially in 'You Were Meant For Me'. There's a good chemistry between leads Lips and Charlotte Gooch as Kathy, although her character isn't quite as goofily loveable as Debbie Reynolds in the movie.

The great Gene Kelly may be long gone but the essence of him in this musical continues. It's a spectacular, high calibre show that doesn't disappoint, even for ardent fans of the film like myself. Romantic, funny and feel-good - the joy just washes over you.

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Why? See top feel good musical
When: From June 6 2022
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B4
Cost: From 28
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