Singin' in the Rain is an all-time classic show and is very much the epitome of a traditional musical, combining acting, singing and dancing - it's a production that takes no prisoners. Peterbrook Players have more than risen to this monumental challenge to bring this show to life at the Core Theatre. Chronicling the evolution of the talking picture, the film version is well remembered for the iconic trio of Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds.
Taking on the debonair role of Don Lockwood in Peterbrook's staging is Robert Bateman, who particularly showcased some strong dancing skills in Moses Supposes and the title number. He was paired with Michael Greene as Cosmo Brown, who brought out the endearingly cheeky side of Cosmo - although it would have been lovely to see more dancing from his character.
There were some wonderfully comic cameos from Gregory March and Jennifer Cole as the Diction and Vocal coaches, whilst Sarah-Jane Busk captured the overly gushy Dora Bailey well. Plus there was good support from Arnie Kaplan MBE as RF Simpson and all of the youngsters were superb in their respective roles, although a particular shout out must go to William Wharton.
The core strength of this production lay in the hands of the two leading ladies of the show - Chloe Rawson as Kathy Selden and Melissa Bickerton as Lina Lamont. They both shone. Bickerton's Lina was shrieky, annoying and downright hilarious and you'd be hard pressed to find an audience member who didn't laugh, especially during the brilliant number, What's Wrong With Me.
Meanwhile, Rawson's Selden was beautifully captured, with a faultless rendition of You Are My Lucky Star, she delivered a captivating performance.
The audience were transported back to the vibrant 20s with an array of wonderful costumes. And with a ridiculous number of costume changes thrown in, a huge shout out is deserved for Costume Mistress Caroline Bickerton.
Under the assured direction of Richard Agg, the performance is packed with pace, colour and energy. The additional ensemble elements helped to showcase the rest of the group and there were some lovely harmonious moments. With an incredibly talented band, this delicious score was brought to technicolor life by Jonathan Clarke. The choreography from Suzanne Ballard was yet another element that pushed the show up another level and I can't imagine anyone not leaving the theatre with a smile on their face after that finale!
Considering it was a dress run, the little glitches can be more than forgiven for the sheer enjoyment had by the audience. It's most certainly a crowd pleaser of a show! Best of luck to the cast and crew for the rest of their sold out run.
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