By Ruth Comerford
Set in the roaring twenties, CHMS’s production of Singin in the Rain at The John Cooper Studio combines sizzling choreography with impressive vocals, to produce a feel good visual delight.
Minimal props and thoughtful costume choices place the production in the era of the first tentative steps of the Hollywood musical, a theme that is realised throughout by innovative special effects and fast paced dance routines. Under the masterful musical direction of Matthew Spalding, the band played superbly throughout, providing a foot tapping beat to the most iconic numbers. Produced by Megan Dawes and directed and choreographed by Terri Guerrero, this is an ambitious show that challenges the ‘triple threat’ abilities of the cast, and is often pulled off with great aplomb.
George Doughty’s Don Lockwood and Becca Storey’s Kathy Seldon provided compelling onstage chemistry that was matched by confident dancing and mellifluous harmonies. At times dialogue between the two was lost to speed and unclear diction, however this did not overly detract from the emotive communication present throughout. Becca’s frequent solos were beautifully sustained, especially in ‘Would you?’ and lent an engaging contrast to her otherwise feisty confrontation with Lina Lamont, played last night by Em Barrett (Tara Geraghty takes over the role for both Saturday shows.) Em’s comic portrayal of the manipulative, ear-splitting diva was a joy to watch, particularly during ‘What’s Wrong with Me?’ and through her saccharine interaction with Don.
Sam Gilliatt’s performance as Cosmo was outstanding throughout, providing physical comedy, slick dancing and stunning vocals amidst a sparkling repartee that was visibly contagious in the cast. In the first act at times blocking felt a little unsure, and issues with sightlines often also compromised the audibility of characters, which were not resolved by the end of the show. However the energy and frequent humorous cameos in the cast, particularly from Laura Cooper, James Botcher and Josh Madine were enough to assuage any incomprehension the audience may have fleetingly experienced.
This revival of a much acclaimed classic sets out to distinguish itself from the film, and succeeds in creating a vibrant and unique performance that engages the audience all the way. The hard work that has gone into this show is visible on all levels; from the thoughtful lighting, minimal set and rapid choreography to the meticulous use of all available to space, this will leave a warm fuzzy feeling as lasting as the glitter that adorns George Doughty’s hair.
You can still catch the last two shows of Singin’ in the Rain:
Saturday 24th June 2017
2:30pm & 7:30pm
John Cooper Studio Theatre, 41 Monkgate