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Greater London
posted/updated: 29 Oct 2015 -
Singin' in the Rain
Book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Arthur Freed, and music by Nacio Herb Brown
society/company: Mayhem Musical Theatre Company (directory)
performance date: 28 Oct 2015
venue: John McIntosh Arts Centre, London Oratory School, Seagrave Road, London SW6 1RX
reviewer/s: Sarah McPartlan (Sardines review)

Photo: Ollie Simon Photography

I attended the opening night of Singin’ in the Rain by Mayhem Musical Theatre Company. For those of you unaware of the story of Sinign’ in the Rain it tells of Don Lockwood and his co-star Lina Lamont who star in silent movies however after the talkies appear to be a smash hit they decide that the new film must be a talkie. Things are not as simple as they seem however as Lina Lamont has a comically annoying and high pitched voice. Along comes Kathy Selden who not only has the perfect voice but also has Dom falling for her. They come up with the idea to dub Lina’s voice with Kathy but when Lina finds out she is not amused.....

This show’s success does focus on the parts of Don, Lina, Kathy and Cosmo and lucky they were all in secure hands here. Don was played by Brady Lloyd and he has the unenviable task of pulling off the Sinign’ in the Rain dance routine. Microphone issues aside during this number Brady looked thoroughly at home in this big dance number. His tap was always spot on and is one of the best male dancers I have seen for a while in amateur theatre.

Lina played by Ashleigh Carter was also hilarious. Her comedy timing was perfect and not once did she let her accent drop. Her number ‘What’s Wrong With Me’ was one of the highlights of the show. Kathy was played nicely by Stephanie Golding although at times I would have liked to have seen a bit more spark to understand why a film star falls for her. Her soprano range was solid and you were able to believe that she was someone the studio would want to use to dub Lina. Cosmo was played by Josh Brown who was committed in the role and came across as one of the most likeable characters on stage.

A mention must also go to Jac Norris as the male diction teacher who delivered the tongue twisters perfectly and shows how a small role can make a big impact. There were a couple of weaker moments due to some of the small roles, for example Karen Davey as Dora Bailey needed to be careful with her wondering accent.

The 15 strong orchestra, under the musical direction of Jon Wade were well drilled and created a brilliant sound fitting for this golden era of films. The choreography by Katie Renton, when working with Don or some of the featured dancers was fitting for the time and showed off some of Mayhems dance talent however in the bigger numbers such as Broadway Melody/Rhythm some of the members of the ensemble struggled to keep up and therefore pulled focus. I would have also have liked ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ to have been even bigger, sharper with more innovative sight gags.

There was a young Don and young Cosmo cast in the show. Unfortunately on opening night young Don was ill and we were invited to use our imagination. I however found it difficult to understand why the young Cosmo was on stage and the purpose he served although I accept that I may have only been getting half of the picture with one of them missing. There were other small directorial details which I did not understand, for example the ensemble arriving to watch the ‘Duelling Cavalier’ (as it was at this stage of the show) at a moment that clearly wasn’t the opening of the movie yet removing their coats as they arrived or the large amount of people on the street at 3am during the title number.

The staging behind the gauze for movie scenes was nicely done and achieved the effect with ease. At other points the scene changes could have be better thought out as at times it stopped the flow and the energy of the action and I would have liked to have seen the lighting used to assist here. Their projections however were nicely done and again firmly in keeping with the era of the show.t reputation amongst amateur theatre and this show did not let them down.

Photo: Ollie Simon Photography

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