THEATRE REVIEW - Singin’ in the Rain

The cast of Singin' in the Rain
The cast of Singin' in the Rain

EVEN on dry evenings, folks in the best seats in the stalls arrived at the Opera House with umbrellas.

The reason was simple. The show was Singin’ in the Rain and it was quite possible a soaking was a distinct possibility.

This fabulous old musical has a top pedigree, starting with the film which saw the joyously unforgettable Gene Kelly splish-splasing along that street in rain of Biblical proportions.

That was way back in 1952 since when the innocent story of romance and laughter has played around the world. Now this new production, truly straight from the west end, has arrived in Manchester Opera House, another example of the city getting the best first.

With its cisternful of familiar songs, the show is a dazzling example of all that’s best in musical theatre as it tells its simple, light-hearted depiction of Hollywood and three stars who are caught up in the transition from silent films to the “talkies.”

The whole show is a thoroughly entertaining and heady mix with a feel-good factor swimming-pool big , stylish sets and truly amazing dance routines. That said, it’s also a star-studded affair and I suspect most will leave the theatre still chuckling at the terrible singing of brassy “silent” film actress

Lena Lamont, played with bitchy confidence by former “Steps” singer Faye Tozer who screeched her way to success, having had to put her great voice on the back boiler. Without doubt Fay – and that iconic water scene – are the stars.

As the song-bird about to take Lena’s crown, Amy Ellen Richardson is a delight to the eye and ear, and as the male lead, Horwich-born James Leece dances magically and in his solo downpour scene, he’s deserved a standing ovation.

Playing at the Opera House, Manchester, until November 30.