Magical musical moments with ‘Singin’ in the Rain’


Singin’ in the Rain | Crown Theatre | Until Jan 22nd |  ★★★★★

Singin’ in the Rain is one of the world’s favourite film musicals and this stage version is a flawless adaptation that captures the romance, spectacle and fun of the movie.

The show is filled with energetic performances, bright costumes, tight choreography and memorable songs. It’s funny, has moments of spectacle – without being gimmicky, and effectively transports you to the 1920’s for the emergence of talking pictures.

The opening scenes take us to the world of Monumental Pictures, it’s Holly wood in it’s earliest days. Boys wear high waist trousers with woolen vests, and tweed flat caps. Legions of secretary’s and typists spot flapper hair styles and brightly coloured dresses. Cameras are ready to roll, pages of scripts fly through the air and wardrobe and make-up artists swirl about the stage.

At the premiere of the studio’s latest picture we meet their biggest stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont. Gossip columnists ask, ‘Are they a couple?’, ‘Are wedding bells in the air?’ The truth is the two stars chemistry is only for the screen and behind the scenes it’s a different story.

Lockwood has no romantic interest in his air-head co-star, Lamont however would happily head down the aisle if it helps further her career.

Escaping from a throng of adoring fans Lockwood bumps into aspiring actress and singer Kathy Sheldon. Later he can’t get the beautiful girl out of his mind and confides to his best friend Cosmo Brown – that he’s needs to find the ingenue. Eventually he finds her, right under his nose, working in the same studio.

The movie world is thrown upside down when the first ‘talking picture’ The Jazz Singer is a massive hit. Studio bosses demand that Lockwood and Lamont’s new feature be filmed with sound, the days of the silent picture are over. There’s just one problem – Lina Lamont has no acting ability, a voice like screeching cat being dragged across a blackboard, and she can’t sing either.

Don Lockwood and Cosmo brown come up with a plan, they’ll get Don’s new girlfriend Cathy to double as Lina’s voice. Its a perfect plan, just as long as Lina doesn’t find out.

Unusually the show has two male leads playing the part of Don Lockwood, Grant Almirall played the part superbly on opening night, but Rohan Browne also plays the lead in some performances. The two took over after original leading man Adam Garcia was forced to drop out of the Australian production due to injury. Almirall’s performance was a respectful homage to Gene Kelly, with the actor pulling off some impressive dance moves.

Gretel Scarlett takes on the leading role of Kathy Selden, once again showing that she can play iconic roles and make them her own, just like she did when she played the lead in Grease.

Jack Chambers gets a lot of laughs as Cosmo Brown, it’s a captivating performance and the actor captures the physical comedy of Donald O’Connor’s best known role perfectly.


Erica Heynatz is wonderful as Lina Lamont. She doesn’t miss a beat as the beautiful but shallow actress whose intelligence people underestimate.

The show’s most beautiful, and iconic moment is when Lockwood shares his joy about falling in love by dancing through a thunderstorm. As the rain pours down on stage and Don Lockwood eyes up a lamp post to swing around, the first three rows of the audience who are in ‘the splash zone’ dive under their seats to put on plastic ponchos.

As Grant Almirall enthusiastically taps dances his way through the large puddles, the audience at the front of the theatre embrace for a spray of water, and squeal loudly a big dance moves deliver a jet of water. If you can get seats at the front, we strongly recommend it, it was hilarious fun.

Recently we’ve seen several films adapted to musicals on the stage and the results have been fairly disappointing, Ghost and Dirty Dancing were both stage adaptations that stayed close to the source material, but failed to come to life on stage. Singing in the Rain however works a treat.

While it may be easily to explain it’s success due to the fact that the film its based on was a musical filled with great song and dance numbers to begin with, the stage production triumphs in recreating the highly technical dance productions, clever physical comedy and grand staging.

From the tongue tying lyrics of Moses Supposes, and the slapstick antics of Fit as a Fiddle and Make ‘Em Laugh, to the perky enthusiasm of Good Morning and the spectacle of the Broadway Ballet the show is a treat. Nothing however tops the pure romanticism of the magical moment when umbrellas are tossed aside for Singin’ in the Rain. 

Graeme Watson, images Jeff Busby.



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