The Theatreguide.London Review
Palace Theatre 2012 - 2013
In the category of theatre-for-people-who-don't-go-to-theatre this is a sure audience pleaser, because it guarantees exactly what they come for. There are no significant variations from the classic film, no changes, no improvements, and above all no surprises.
This is theatre-as-comfort-food, and that's really all the audience it is designed for needs to be reassured of.
So this review is for those who weren't planning to see the show but might if there was something special that made it more attractive than renting the movie. There isn't.
Following the film script almost scene-for-scene, the musical is clearly designed not to offer anything original. Oh, Don and Kathy meet at a bus stop rather than her car, and Good Morning takes place outdoors rather than at Don's house, and Lina gets a new (and pointless) song, and Cosmo rather than Don introduces the Gotta Dance scene, and that's about all I noticed.
The performances are all modelled on the film originals, and the staging by Jonathan Church and choreography by Andrew Wright range from decidedly inferior to the film (Make 'Em Laugh, Good Morning) through mildly witty (All I Do) to only once actually better than the film (Moses Supposes).
The Gotta Dance sequence is exactly as dreary as it is in the film, though perhaps a little shorter, and the title number gives star Adam Cooper the opportunity to splash a lot of water on the front rows of the stalls, but as for capturing the spirit of Gene Kelly's version – well, Ernie Wise came closer.
Adam Cooper is amiable enough as Don, and Katherine Kingsley does an excellent Jean Hagen impersonation as Lina and Daniel Crossley an adequate Donald O'Connor impersonation as Cosmo. Scarlett Strallen copies Debbie Reynolds in creating the impression of an earnest amateur a bit out of her depth, but she lacks the girlish charm that let Reynolds get away with it.
In short, if what you want is a pale imitation of the film, familiar and unthreatening, guaranteed to offer no surprises and no excitement beyond the pleasure of reliving the familiar – and there is a legitimate audience out there who want exactly this – Singin' In The Rain delivers.
If you want more, look elsewhere.
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Review - Singin' In The Rain - Palace Theatre 2012