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Singin' In The Rain - Nottingham Review

Take the classic 1951 MGM movie, arguably one the greatest musical picture ever to hit the silver screen, and bring it to stage. That is the brief that faced director Jonathan Church back in 2011 and his hit revival of Singin' In The Rain continues to play to packed houses on its tour of the UK arriving in Nottingham.

The Singin' In The Rain company. Photo by Johan Persson

For those familiar with that classic movie, you are in safe hands. It's very much a faithful adaptation with wonderful nods throughout. That nostalgic feel of the period is expertly brought to the stage in a stormy evening of dance, music and the odd downpour!

For the unfamiliar (where have you been!) the story focuses on the behind-the-scenes of the latest Hollywood movie as the film studio faces stiff competition from the first talkie (a movie with talking), with 6 weeks till opening night and a disastrous preview screening they decide to push on and make their picture in to a musical. The big problem being their leading lady, Lina Lamont, has a voice that could close down the whole operation. Leading man, Don Lockwood has a chance meeting with stage actress Kathy Selden and thus begins romance and a way to solve the film's big dilemma by dubbing over her voice.

The whole evening is full of charm and simplicity in its storytelling and humour. There is something wonderfully charming about the classic entertainment feel of the whole production. Simon Higlett's set and costume design perfectly root the piece in the 1920s, though the stage is rather elevated so in the stalls it was difficult to see the feet which in a largely dance show is a bit disappointing. That said the choreography by Andrew Wright is dazzling and performed by a tremendous cast.

Stepping into the role made so famous by Gene Kelly is a terrific Sam Lips. He oozes a great charm and likeablity to his Don Lockwood. He is also the most graceful dancer and makes every movement look easy or natural. He's matched perfectly by the energetic joy of Ross McLaren as best pal Cosmo Brown.

Ross McLaren as Cosmo Brown, Charlotte Gooch and Kathy Seldon and Sam Lips as Don Lockwood. Photo by Johan Persson.

Arguably the two-star turns come from the leading ladies. Jenny Gayner is simply delicious throughout, maintaining the shrill voice of Lina Lamont with real skill, especially in the number 'What's Wrong With Me?' as she effortlessly sings out of tune. A fabulous Charlotte Gooch is outstanding as Kathy Selden, she has a real glowing stage presence and delights in every single moment. Gooch is a classy performer and in dance and song, she excels.

The show features some of the most iconic numbers including the spectacular title number which includes thousands of litres of water pouring down on the stage as Sam Lips sings and dances away in the rain. A 10-piece orchestra under musical director Grant Walsh sounds fabulous as they play this gorgeous score.

On the press night in Nottingham, there were certainly some issues with the dry ice as it was pumped out and a couple of times drafted into the stalls making the stage difficult to see which made the audience break into tittering and it certainly broke the feel of the scenes happening. Some of the scene transitions too were a tad clunky and distracting but massive credit must go to the stage team who have the job of draining the stage which takes pretty much the entire interval. 

The show delights in its music, dance and charm. The second act does suffer a little by the first half featuring most of the iconic songs bar a superb Ballet sequence that puts Harriet Samuel-Gray at its heart and she is a marvelous mover. The soaring finale as the entire company performs a reprise of the title song as the rain pours down once more and the show ends in an epic battle of splashing between the cast, many of whom relish soaking the front few rows (bring your waterproofs if you're sitting in the first 5 or so rows!).

On the press night, we were treated to the signed performance and I wanted to give a big shout-out to the sign language interpreter Anna Trethewey who was fabulous throughout she danced away as well as providing excellent signing. 

Singin' In The Rain is undoubtedly uplifting, you'll be singing the numbers long after the show finishes and you'll certainly want to dance in the rain next time there's a downpour. Fabulous.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Singin' In The Rain continues at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall until Saturday 9th July 2022. Tickets remain available from The tour continues thereafter for full dates visit

The cast of Singin' In The Rain. Photo by Johan Persson.

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