Making a splash in Manchester… Manchester has a glorious feeling as Singin’ in the Rain glides its way into town to begin its first ever UK tour. Following a sell out stint in the West End, the musical plays at the Opera House till 30th November before embarking on a number of stops around the country thrilling audiences with its toe-tapping tunes.
A well-known movie classic, Singin’ in the Rain transfers well to the stage treating fans to an almost carbon copy of the hit 1952 film starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor.
It’s not the first time the show has made its way to our city- both Paul Nicholas and Tommy Steele have played the silent movie star with a spring in his step, Don Lockwood, charming audiences and getting soaked every night in the process.
James Leece takes on the role in this production and it was always going to be a hard act to live up to, especially as Hollywood icon Kelly isn’t easy to erase from memory. On the whole Leece gives an energetic performance, showing his stamina during a 10 minute Broadway Melody song and dance routine that would have most gasping for breath. At times though there’s a spark missing in his chemistry with on stage love interest Kathy Seldon (Amy Ellen Richardson) and a little more cheese than panache in his delivery.
Faye Tozer is a true delight as squeaky voiced starlet Lina Lamont, proving she is more than just ‘that singer from STEPS’ instead she is a polished actress who pulls out all the stops in this character part. The audience were in stitches at her shrill New York accent and perfect comic timing in ironic one-liners ‘What? Am I dumb or something?’
Another famous face to look out for is Maxwell Caulfield who is no stranger to musicals having played alongside Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2 back in the 80s. Caulfield gives a confident performance as studio boss RF Simpson, which is only to be expected from the veteran American TV star who has appeared in The Colby’s and more recently Emmerdale.
It is Stephanie Anelli that steals the show here, proving he can Make ‘Em Laugh as Don’s side-kick Cosmo Brown. The pint-sized performer brought the house down with his facial expressions and madcap antics- rewarded with huge cheers at the finale, outshining his other cast members.
With a plethora of smile inducing Brown & Freed songs such as ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Moses Supposes’ there’s no doubt you will leave feeling upbeat and happy. Of course the highlight everyone is waiting for is the title track which the excited audience are treated to twice, once just before the interval and then again in the rousing finale. There’s over 12,000 litres of water used and recycled per performance for Singin’ in the Rain and it is worth every drop as you witness the squeals from the front 2 rows when they get splashed from the enthusiastic puddle jumping!
This truly is an all-singing all dancing musical triumph from Director Jonathan Church, which charts the golden age of cinema and the first foray into ‘Talkies’. Watch out for some great scenes where they have recreated the silent movie clips and show them on a screen that comes down from top of the stage.
Definitely not a washout…a shower of success!
Manchester Opera House, Quay Street, M3 3HP
Saturday 9 to Saturday 30 November
Performance Schedule: Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm. Thur & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box office: 08440871 3018