Singing In The Rain: A Nostalgic Visit to A Golden Age

Good morning to you, from Melbourne’s production of Singing, but In The Rain

Singin’ In The Rain is the kind of musical that you can’t resist clapping along to- it is full of fun, heart and nostalgia. Her Majesty’s theatre played host to what was one of the best musical performances I have ever seen, complete with actual rain. The first few rows of the audience members were given ponchos to protect them from the projectile splashes as the cast merrily stomped and danced in ankle deep water, and from what I could tell from the enthusiastic kicks in the puddles onstage, they didn’t do much! The cast were not shy about spreading the love with the water- they bounded on stage swinging their feet and purposely kicking the water as far as it would go. I can imagine that for some people this would’ve been a nightmare, but for me, a patron who is overly fond of any audience interaction in a stage play, it added something special to the experience. The songs are catchy, the choreography flawless and I couldn’t see anyone that wasn’t grinning the entire time.

Singin’ in the rain follows the golden age of Hollywood films when the introduction of sound (that is, dialogue instead of just instrumental pieces) revolutionised the production and reception of cinema. Accompanied by hilariously slapstick pre-recorded footage of the “movies” being produced, and the quirkiness of its characters, the stage production made use of multiple mediums and devices in a show that I assumed wouldn’t have too much to do with stagecraft elements. Oh, how I was wrong! I expect that musicals such as The Sound of Music or Les Miserables would require an awful lot in the stagecraft department with constructing sets and landscapes, era correct costumes and the placement of the orchestra, and foolishly thought that SITR would only incorporate such elements in the actual “rain” scenes. Instead, the stage was transformed magnificently through the use of minimal but descriptive set pieces and props, the costumes were changed for almost every musical number and the orchestra was situated above the stage on a platform as their usual space was now occupied with an extended stage and rain-catchment area.

The loveable sidekick, as played by Jack Chambers,  stole the show with his outstanding energy that echoed a cartoon character as he sprang around the stage whilst singing without so much as a pause to catch his breath. Erika Heynatz, who played the love-to-hate character of Lina Lamont, perfected the nasally high pitched speech of the most irritating actress in SITR’s Hollywood, stirring laughs all round with her childish observations however I am interested to hear her actual voice!

The stage production of SITR brings all of the story’s golden-age nostalgia and witty charm, and  combines it with an expert manipulation of stagecraft, making it a sincerely enjoyable experience.

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