Singin’ in the Rain ranks as one of Chichester Festival Theatre’s finest productions of recent years.
How lovely to catch up with it again on tour at Southampton’s Mayflower.
Of course the cast has changed, but the fun remains the same in a show which gets absolutely everything right from first to last on a night which combines glorious music, superb choreography and – the icing on the cake – endless wit.
It’s funny. It really is very, very funny, largely thanks to Vicky Binns’ wonderful performance as Lina Lamont, the shrieky/squawky silent-film star whose days are numbered the instant the talkies come in.
Binns gets her claws out beautifully as the increasingly-bitchy Lina clings onto her place in a world which is no longer hers, especially as her great on-screen lover Don Lockwood (James Leece) has found genuine off-screen love in the shape of Kathy Selden (Amy Ellen Richardson).
Leece gives the most assured of performances as the star whose fortune really rises. Singin’ in the Rain is all about the rapture of new love, and he delivers it quite brilliantly amid the most remarkable of indoor downpours. Just how they do it – twice – beggars belief.
Matching him every step of the way, though, is Richardson who runs the tightrope between spiritedness and sweetness as Kathy.
With three fine performances at its heart, the show’s always on to a winner, but the ensemble, always lively, always colourful, take it all to the next level. Everything about the show, from costumes to choreography, from orchestration to set, is impressive, but best of all it’s a hoot – warm, witty and hilarious.