Review: Singin' in the Rain is a glorious feeling at Milton Keynes Theatre

Alan Wooding reviews Singin’ in the Rain at Milton Keynes Theatre

By Peter Ormerod
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 2:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 2:22 pm
The Singin' in the Rain company
The Singin' in the Rain company

It's regularly been voted as one of the most popular musicals ever made but MGM’s 1952 masterpiece from Hollywood's golden era has become just as popular having transferred to the stage.

Its songs have become so iconic that you're just as likely to be humming them before entering the theatre as you are on the way out. When Milton Keynes Theatre announced last year that Singin’ in the Rain would be part of a 2022 nationwide tour, I jumped at the chance to review it… and I certainly didn't come away disappointed!

Steps all-rounder Faye Tozer and Broadway regular Sam Lips play Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood respectively – and they help bring Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed's memorable songbook to life.

This production is directed by Jonathan Church, and beside the wonderful singing, acting and fabulous choreography, it’s the clever staging and in particular the rain sequences which so impress, with more than 6,000 litres of water is sprayed on the cast. For those unfamiliar with the story, Singin’ in the Rain follows two 1920s Hollywood actors who attempt to transition from the silent screen to the talkies – and there’s plenty of comic moments along the way.

While Gene Kelly’s role of leading man Don Lockwood has gone down in cinema history, when Sam Lips dons his tap shoes in the same role of the silent movie heartthrob, he lights up the show and finally charms wannabe stage actress Kathy Selden after searching for her for weeks following a chance meeting while sitting on a bench trying to avoid his adoring fans.

Charlotte Gooch is the graceful Kathy. She has a terrific voice and can certainly dance. But when the rain starts to pour in the key Singin' in the Rain number, it's the dashing Lockwood who skips and dances his way through the puddles while kicking water out over the audience who by now are not only rather wet, but in fits of laughter.

Lockwood's right-hand funny man is Cosmo Brown (Ross McLaren) whose slapstick version of Make 'Em Laugh is brilliantly executed. Throughout the show his quips and wonderful comedy timing makes him a standout performer while I also loved the trio singing Good Morning as they danced around the street.

Dunstable's Faye Tozer plays the beautiful Lina Lamont whose squeaky voice was fine for the silent era although she could never make it in the talkies. She has great fun as a preening silent movie icon and plays the role for laughs.

Andrew Wright’s choreography is visually stunning and extremely colourful. The title song closes both the first and second acts and involves the whole talented cast. It also manages to give the audience one final soaking before they headed for home, undoubtedly humming the tunes which would by now be ingrained in their memory. What a glorious feeling indeed.

Singin' in the Rain runs at Milton Keynes Theatre until this Saturday April 16. Visit atgtickets.com/MiltonKeynes to book.