Singin' in the Rain
|Date||11th February 2023|
|Society||Sawston Youth Drama|
|Venue||The Marven Centre|
|Type of Production||Youth|
|Musical Director||Clare Irwin|
|Choreographer/Assistant Director||Katie McArthur|
Author: Decia Ranger
It’s the mid 1920’s and silent movies are giving way to talkies. This causes a problem for Monumental Studios whose female lead has a squeaky voice and an apparent inability to sing. Up until now none of this has mattered but the time has come to make the transition from silent movies to talking pictures. Could a voice dub be the way to go?
The stage musical, based on the 1952 film starring Gene Kelly has a terrific musical score, including of course a universally famous title song. It’s also a great show for young performers, giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Hollywood of a bygone era.
The show opens with fans arriving at the cinema hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite movie stars, in particular Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood. Well done to Phoebe Riordan as Dora Bailey, introducing all the stars as they arrive. We then switch to inside the theatre where a screen is showing Lina and Don in their latest movie. This was very well done with the black and white footage, framed in typical silent movie fashion.
Don Lockwood was well played by Archie Meikle. He has a nice singing voice but now needs to relax more into his solos. This should come with experience. Otherwise, a very commendable performance. Oliver Moss as Cosmo Brown displayed a natural talent as a song and dance man with good comic timing, all of which were displayed in his solo “Make Em Laugh”. Mariana Gomes was terrific as Lina Lamont. Her solo “What’s Wrong with Me” nearly brought the house down. This young lady has a lot of acting talent as well as a strong singing voice.
Well done to Elsa Gordon as Kathy Seldon, trying to make it as an actress. She becomes the voice of Lina Lamont as well as capturing the heart of Don Lockwood. I think Elsa gave a good performance throughout and I loved the reveal when the gauze is opened to show Kathy singing and Lina miming.
There were other good performances from Yoav Pilowsky Bankirer as Stage Manager Roscoe Dexter and Harry Richards as Studio Head R.F. Simpson. All other roles were well cast, displaying the considerable acting talent in this group.
Choreography was good throughout with some lovely dance sequences, including the iconic “Singin’ in the Rain” with the large chorus twirling umbrellas and tap dancing.
To my mind live music takes a show to a different level. However it should never be overpowering and I did feel there were times when some of these young voices struggled to compete with the large orchestra. It was also a shame that some of the tap dancing could not be heard over the music. This was especially evident in “Good Morning”
The set was fairly simple which it had to be to accommodate the large cast and scene changes were quickly carried out. Costumes were good and of the period. There were a few tech issues on the evening I was there with mics not always livening up on cue and a spot, high up centre stage, which turned and blinded the audience on more than one occasion.
The show though was all about the young people on stage and nothing can detract from the fact that every one of them looked as though they had poured their heart and soul into this production. They were a credit to themselves and to those who put them through their paces.
Congratulations to all involved and thank you for inviting me.