S&H Musical Review

SINGING IN THE RAIN (Musical based on the Gene Kelly film) Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London. 1 January 2001

This is just a brief notice and warm recommendation of a marvellous staged recreation of one of the best loved of musical films, a production for The Millennium from the Playhouse, Leeds which is at The National through January into February, and to which we treated ourselves on New Year's Day (standbys at £16).

Its subject is conflict between genres, ever topical, never more so than now. The programme book, an unusually full and informative one, recalls that Trevor Nunn had to defend himself for staging Oklahoma at The National as being 'no less valuable or important than other classics - - just because it is a musical' and we are asked to ponder which is the harder 'to give a great performance as Lear or to dance as well as Kelly'.

Paul Robinson [PICT]is not quite in that class, but he (and the whole cast) dance, sing and act very well and are supported by a fine eight piece band, the whole projected with great skill by sound designer Simon Whitehorn.

It works well to tackle the onslaught of 'talkies' on silent cinema by a combination of a stage show with modern film projections. It is witty in its invention and makes a great show, particularly enjoyable for those who know the movie. Readers of Film Music on the Web will find plenty to think about whilst being entertained.

Recommended for a great evening of musical theatre/cinema using new technology to great effect and lots of real water for the coups de theatre which end both acts; dress suitably if you are going to be in the front row; you will certainly fear a splashing!

Peter Grahame Woolf

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