Singin’ In The Rain
Lyric Theatre Star City
July 8 to September 4
Story By Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Director Jonathan Church
Photo credit: Jeff Busby
If ever there was a theatrical production that required the principal performers to be triple threats, it’s Singing’ In The Rain, and the latest version is playing at Star City’s Lyric Theatre.
The 1952 MGM movie, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor about old Hollywood of 1929, is an all-singing, all-dancing, all-tapping production that includes raining on the Lyric Theatre stage.
We all know the story, so how did the main cast perform? It would be impossible to re-create the presence that Kelly, Reynolds and O’Connor had on screen, but the cast in this stage production is still impressive.
Grant Almirall plays Don Lockwood, The Gene Kelly character, and he projects all of the characteristics of a 1920s Hollywood leading man; the self-confidence, slight swagger and mischievous sense of humour are straight out of early Hollywood.
Gretel Scarlett is the sweet-voiced and extraordinarily talented Kathy Selden, the girl-next-door who makes it to Broadway and wins the heart of the leading man.
Comparatively, the most challenging role is that of Cosmo Brown, the loyal best friend with a comedic sense. Cosmo is played by Jack Chambers. In the memorable Make Em Laugh scene, Chambers doesn’t do the running-up-the-wall routine and still manages to stand out. If you haven’t seen Donald O’Connor in the screen version, Chambers will be a genius.
Individually, the three are amazingly talented hoofers, and when they perform the synchronised dancing, especially the tap-dancing, the routines blow the roof off the theatre. Underpinning the amazing skills of the trio is Andrew Wright’s superb choreography.
Erika Heynatz is also outstanding as Lina Lamont, the leading lady with a high-pitched Queens, New York accent that makes Cyndi Lauper’s speaking voice seem sophisticated. Lamont’s glamour, apparent lack of education, self-righteousness and rat cunning make for an intriguing and amusing element in the production.
Then there’s the rain effect and tap-dancing in the shallow pool that quickly transforms from the Lyric Theatre stage. There’s so much water (12,000 litres to be exact) that the front three rows of the audience are given clear, plastic ponchos.
The colour and movement, the fabulous costuming, the singing, the choreography and the talents of the performers make for a fun, feel-good experience that will have you singing or humming Singing’ In The Rain, Make Em Laugh and Good Morning for days.
Photo: Ron Lee's companion on opening night was Benita Collings who is celebrating the 50th birthday of Playschool.