'Singin' In The Rain' is one of Hollywood's most iconic musicals and to take it on is no mean feat but Salford Musical Theatre Company have done just that.
There was certainly some Hollywood magic to be had, due also to the fact that the orchestra were outstanding and really gave it an authentic 'big musical' feel. Although modest in size (eleven), they produced a wonderful, big band sound which was perfect for this production.
For me, the stars of tonight's show were Adam Garnett as Cosmo Brown and Alison Ruck as Lina Lamont. Adam was extremely engaging, slick and professional and he gave a very strong and confident performance with excellent comic timing. I really sat up and took notice during "Make Em Laugh" as he certainly commanded attention – up until that point it was a little slow to get going and I hadn't really felt engaged with the show.
Alison's version of Lina was wonderful – she produced a suitably grating and squeaky voice and her delivery and petulant demeanour were exactly as they should be. Her solo scene "What's Wrong With Me" was a high point of the evening and earned a very enthusiastic audience response which I felt had been decidedly lukewarm so far.
Peter J Rigney as Don Lockwood had a very hard act to follow in Gene Kelly but he certainly captured Kelly's nonchalance and charm and was very likeable.
The scenes involving Cosmo and Don together worked very well, particularly 'Moses' when I thought they had great chemistry and their dancing was impeccable, I absolutely loved it and they made it look so easy.
I very much enjoyed the "Good Morning" scene and I felt that Cosmo, Don and Kathy (Alexandra Severn) worked very well together and the chemistry was evident. I did feel that Alexandra wasn't as confident or assured as Adam and Peter but she certainly did this scene justice, it was one of the stand out scenes of the night. It contains one of the iconic moments when the three of them run up the sofa and tip it over...they did manage this although there was a second or two of "will it, won't it"!
I must mention Rachel Clarke as Miss Dinsmore – her exasperation really made me laugh and I loved this short scene between her and Lina.
The "Broadway Melody" scene was very entertaining and fun to watch with some superb tap dancing and choreography and all the colour and pizazz that this scene demands. I loved the enthusiasm of the ladies in their gorgeous '20s fringed dresses and where would a good musical be without the obligatory jazz hands - which they demonstrated with flair and razzle dazzle.
The encore made a splash – literally! This was very colourful, engaging and fun to watch.
Just a few minor points: on occasions, some of the ensemble dancing needed to be a bit tighter with the synchronicity but the choreography was excellent and well executed although the standard wasn't always consistent in relation to timing. Also there were some wardrobe malfunctions – Cosmo almost lost his trousers but coped admirably and Don's raincoat for the anticipated street scene was very noticeably inside out – I'm not sure why this wasn't corrected as he did go off stage for a few moments when this could have been changed.
I think there were a couple of slightly delayed entrances which were covered well but I felt for Alexandra Severn (Kathy) at one point as she seemed to hurtle back on stage and clearly hadn't had enough time for her costume change and as a result, she appeared slightly flustered. I am sure this was just a case of some first night glitches and I wish them well for the rest of the week.
With a great set, gorgeous costumes and even rain on stage (very impressive), I was entertained and there were some moments of greatness. It is very clear that everyone in this production has worked their socks off (and probably gone through a lot of umbrellas too!)
Reviewer: Nicky Lambert
Reviewed: 6th June 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★