My most favourite film – ever is Singin’ in the Rain. 1952, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. It tells the story how the talkies came to Hollywood and pokes fun at the industry.
Obviously I never saw the film first time it was released but something in my childhood must have ingrained this film and the music into my head. I was taken at a very early age to see Tommy Steele and Roy Castle at the London Palladium in 1983, I can remember being sat quite high up and was apparently more fascinated with the orchestra and the tube ride there than I was the show. However, something must have stuck as I was bought the video and promptly wore that out. Thank goodness for DVDs.
12 years later in 1995 I got the chance to see it again, this time directed by Tommy Steele and starring Paul Nicholas in the lead role of Don Lockwood.
Some years later I cannot remember the date and I am back at my local theatre The Mayflower, Southampton for another production of my favourite show. As a fan I went to the matinée performance only for the water to cause a short circuit and so I had to go again three days later on Saturday.
The cinema did something marvellous in 2002, celebrating 50 years of the film, got a reprint of the film and I got to see it on the big screen as it was meant to be seen.
And still the film/musical is my favourite and whenever it is on the television I will watch it annoying those with me, as I am always preempting what is going to be said and I was conscious of that when I got the chance to go and see it again at my other local theatre Chichester Festival Theatre. I am lucky enough to live 20 minutes from two of the best theatres in the country.
Singin’ in the Rain 2011 style was fantastic. Yes they played a bit fast and loose with the film. A couple of extra songs, one for Don and Kathy when she first meets him and a song for Lina Lamont – why? Cosomo Brown does not run up the wall as he does in the film, which I show below for your pleasure if you wish to partake in making them laugh!
Also as Lina Lamont is exposed at the end of the film, they did not sing Singin’ in The Rain which I was a bit disappointed at, but that was soon forgotten as a whole cast ensemble did the title track again as the rain came down once more! (splashing the audience, some of who were not amused. Do not sit in the front row then!) They had real fun you could see that and has the three main leads took their bow, the others absolutely soaked them. What a delight!
This was an excellent production, and is worthy of the reviews I have read and the standing ovation it got as well. It is allegedly going into the West End, and it deserves it if it does. The three main leads, I would say are not that well known, the names might ring a few bells and I had to do a bit of research. Adam Cooper who plays Don Lockwood, was the older Billy in Billy Elliott, the scene at the end with Swan Lake – that was him! Scarlett Strallen who plays Kathy Selden (sister of Summer who I am seeing in Top Hat in a few weeks time) was Mary Poppins, in Mary Poppins on the stage. A show I never got to see and I wish I had because that is my second favourite film. Sandra Dickinson (used to be married to Peter Davison) and Michael Brandon (Demspey and Makepeace) I did recognise.
A lovely afternoon out on a Sunday, a rare occurrence for a theatre, but it was delightful sitting on the grass with a cup of tea in the sunshine, waiting to go in and know that you were going to enjoy the show no matter what! They should prescribe it on the NHS.