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Singin' In The Rain - Kilworth House Theatre Review

Reviewed by Mark Johnson
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review

Come rain or shine, Singin' In The Rain is a classic musical that is rightly held as one of the greatest musical movies. 9 years after Kilworth House Theatre first staged the show, they now stage a new production in their beautiful leafy Leicestershire surroundings.

Jack Wilcox (centre) as Don Lockwood and the Company.

Director and choreographer Lee Proud returns to the venue after 2023's 5-star production of
Hairspray and once again his vision is outstanding in staging this show. With Simon Wells' set, you are instantly immersed in the world of the Hollywood movie studio. The posters on either side of the set and the on-set feel carries throughout the show with the excellent use of props and placement on the stage. Jason Taylor's lighting design further helps for bringing the colours of the studio to life.
The show follows the behind-the-scenes process as Monumental Pictures prepares for their latest film, 'The Duelling Cavalier'. In a time when silent pictures begin to transition into talking pictures, it follows the studio and its stars as they try to transition into this new world. The big problem is leading lady Lina Lamont has a rather shrill voice and the insistence that the on-screen romance is real could de-rail the whole project.

Jack Wilcox is every bit a charming leading man as Don Lockwood. You instantly feel a warm presence when he is on the stage. He oozes star quality. Every aspect of the character is well rounded with fantastic vocals, an amazing dance quality and great acting ability to convey all the emotion that character goes through. The camaraderie and pairing with Alastair Crosswell as Cosmo Brown is magnificent. The duo used to perform together and the first number 'Fit As A Fiddle' showcases their career beginnings whilst showcasing what you can expect from Wilcox and Crosswell throughout. Crosswell is fun throughout with comedic timing that brings big laughs. His 'Make 'Em Laugh' is a hoot.

To escape his adoring fans at their latest premiere Don goes for a walk and once recognised he seeks the solace of a stranger waiting on a bench. This chance encounter with Kathy Selden, a want-to-be stage actress, forms the basis of what could be the resolution to the studio's problems. Lucie-Mae Sumner is an all-rounded star as Selden. Whether it's the blossoming relationship between Wilcox's Lockwood or any of the other characters Sumner is simply a delight to watch. She also boasts some truly gorgeous vocals that are just a treat to hear, as soon as she begins 'Lucky Star' you are enchanted by the voice.

Lucie-Mae Sumner (centre) as Kathy Selden and the Company.
Jess Buckby is perfectly pitched as Lina, she excels in the delivery of the character especially in the voice work and the mannerisms. Buckby is clearly having fun with the role. It's no easy task to keep up the shrillness of the voice.

In more supporting roles Mark Curry is film studio boss RF Simpson who battles to keep the picture alive and has quite the job of keeping everyone happy! Curry is always good value when he is on the stage. In a couple of fun parts, you have Julia J Nagle who plays reporter Dora Bailey as well as a rather frustrated elocution teacher Miss Dinsore. However, she does get to take part in the great 'Moses Supposes' number alongside Wilcox and Crosswell. Joel Wilding cooks up a frustrated figure well as film director Roscoe Dexter.

A real company piece the ensemble features throughout largely playing supporting roles around the studio. A hugely talented company of movers they make Lee Proud's energetic choreography look easy. The larger ensemble numbers such as the 'Broadway Ballet' are thrilling to watch. The classy choreography manages to help convey the world of the 1920's. 

Of course, a star of the show itself is the rain which pours down at the end of the first act and the classic titular number. Proud's classy choreography and a delighting performance by Wilcox make it a real moment and whilst the audience's tittering as they cower to cover themselves from any splashing from the stage it doesn't detract from the number. By the time the rain returns for the finale, it's sheer joy on stage and in the audience.

Musical supervisor and director Michael Bradley leads an off-stage orchestra of classy musicians that make the music sound as alive as the day it was written. Chris Whybrow's clear sound design means that even when battling elements like wind there is no line lost. 

Whilst it is all very positive and only a few minor moments, particularly when the characters seemingly are watching the first footage back of 'The Duelling Cavalier' where the company face a blank screen (though this could have been a technical fault on the performance I attended). It really lowered the impact on this sequence. 

Kilworth House Theatre simply doesn't miss, regularly bringing West End or Broadway level productions to the Leicestershire countryside. You simply can't leave this production of Singin' In The Rain without feeling uplifted. This classic musical never disappoints and Proud and company once more strike gold. Sit back and let it all wash over you, it's a hit!


Singin' In The Rain plays at Kilworth House Theatre until Sunday 28th July 2024. Tickets are available from

The Singin' In The Rain Company.

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