Singin’ In The Rain – Festival Theatre

Let’s just get to the punchline shall we? Go and see this. The best word to describe this production at The Festival Theatre is ‘FUN’. Right from the moments before it starts, when the announcer says “The year is 1927, mobile phones haven’t been invented, so please turn them off” you know that this is going to be an evening you spend with a smile on your face. And that’s just what the near capacity audience did.

Stage plays being made in to films can often be a success given the ‘bigger stage’ a movie can offer, but I must say I was a little apprehensive about going to see the reverse, a movie transferring to the theatre. Particularly as I have seen the MGM film many times – my Mother is a big fan of Musicals! I need not have worried. The team behind this production have done an absolutely amazing job. So much so that at times you have to remind yourself that you’re in the theatre not the cinema.

The story is about the movies, set in 1927 – as we have already been told – just as the Silent era was ending and the new fangled ‘Talkies’ were emerging. It’s a familiar one, incorporating elements of various Fairytales and Fables – Cinderella, The Tortoise & The Hare to name but two. And like all musicals, the dialogue is interspersed with song and dance routines, although on this occasion they’re not quite as ‘random’ as is often the case! It’s difficult to highlight the main characters – were there two, three, four, six… I’m not sure – as every single performer, plus the 10 piece Orchestra and a whole host of technical types, all played their part in making over 2½ hours pass in a wonderfully feel-good flash! The main three, Don Lockwood played by James Leece, Kathy Selden (Amy Ellen Richardson) and Cosmo Brown (Stephane Anelli) are all portrayed superbly; the parts of studio boss R F Simpson played by Maxwell Caulfield and Director Roscoe Dexter (Paul Grunert) are almost as important. But for me the stand out performance was by former Steps singer Faye Tozer. I have said before when reviewing theatre productions, that it takes a great performer to deliberately put on a bad performance. I know Ms Tozer can sing (yes, I’ll admit to being a closet Steps fan!) but here, as the woefully talentless Lina Lamont, she manages to convince us otherwise. And her interpretation of a ‘Noo Yoik’ accent is positively brilliant!

So, all in all, a wonderful evening was had by all. If you’re after a night out with a whole bucketload of feel-good factor I suggest you try and get tickets before they’re all gone and have one too. Oh, and don’t leave before the end, the Finale is EPIC!

Singin’ In The Rain – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh until 15th March 2014

Charlie Cavaye