Music: Roger Edens
Director: Mick Cox
Musical Director: Christopher Guard
Choreographer: Melanie Fox
Reviewer: Ray Taylor
The Public Reviews Rating:
The well-known story of the golden age of silent movies giving way to the talkies, as portrayed by Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in one of the most famous musicals of all time, is here brought entertainingly to life on the stage in York. A largely amateur cast has done full justice to the production and sent the audience home with a smile on their face and humming that title tune. And would you believe it – outside it was coming down in buckets.
Special mention must be made of the four leading actors. Gareth Smith (Don Lockwood) has a confident, mellow singing voice and acted consistently throughout. His big number that rousingly closes the first half does not disappoint and the production team does not hold back on the rain – Gareth was absolutely drenched! Joanne Frazer (Kathy Selden) makes a sweet leading lady and does everything required of her admirably. The growing relationship and chemistry between these two is nicely portrayed. Iain Harvey (Cosmo Brown) must be congratulated for his very skilful and energetic performance displaying all-round singing, dancing and athletic ability. He also gets most of the laughs. And Toni Feetenby (Lina Lamont) in a very difficult role uses her voice superbly throughout and manages to elicit sympathy for her character particularly in her wonderful solo What’s wrong with me?
These four are admirably supported by the whole ensemble whether it is in the fully choreographed numbers or the smaller group scenes. There are no weak links in the company and everyone plays their part. The two youngest members of the cast, Jack Armstrong and Josh Benson, playing young Don and young Cosmo, deserve credit for their charming and confident performances.
An integral part of this show is the depiction of the silent movie and dubbing sequences, these worked particularly well. Credit for this must be due to Callum O’Connell who is responsible for film and photography. Any musical, of course, also relies on the skills of the musical director, orchestra and choreographer and all three came up trumps in this production.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment and if you can’t get down to London’s West End to their version you have a chance to see it in York until the end of this week.
Runs until Saturday 22 September 2012
Tags: Callum O’Connell, Christopher Guard, Cosmo Brown, Debbie Reynolds, Don Lockwood, Gene Kelly, Grand Opera House, Jack Armstrong and Josh Benson, Joanne Frazer, Kathy Selden, Lina Lamont, Melanie Fox, Mick Cox, Music: Roger Edens, Singin’ in the Rain, Toni Feetenby, York