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Singin' in the Rain

“Music, glamour and charm”
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Singin’ in the Rain is a fitting Christmas musical for a venue that’s surrounded by water. It wouldn’t usually be a compliment to describe a production as ‘wet’ but a light trickle wouldn’t be sufficient here.

The evergreen film starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds receives a very faithful stage treatment, with a modern framing device. A teenager stumbles across a selection of paraphernalia belonging to the once mighty Monumental Pictures and escapes into this lost world via her smartphone, shared with the audience through a series of projections.

Joseph Pitcher’s perfectly proportioned production is ideally matched by fluid choreography by Ashley Nottingham. A bustling ensemble conveys the film industry’s attempt to adjust to the requirements of using voices as well as faces. Diego Pitarch’s set acts as a blank canvas for the dramas on and off screen, complemented by Natalie Titchener’s delectable 1920s costumes and Jamie Platt’s impressionistic lighting.

Stepping into Gene Kelly’s brogues, Philip Bertioli has the relaxed charm, nimble feet and touch of arrogance required for vaudevillian turned leading man Don Lockwood. Rebecca Jayne-Davies is a bubbly and assertive Kathy Selden and Brendan Cull is a pleasure as quick-thinking, quick-stepping, jack-of-all-trades Cosmo Brown.

The treatment of squeaky-voiced diva Lina Lamont (Sammy Kelly) is a sticking point. Although she gets a solo (unlike in the film), her public humiliation does feel excessively mean spirited.

Nevertheless, with such music, glamour and charm, a downpour and a surprise splash or two has rarely been so joyous.

Private Lives review at the Mill at Sonning – ‘a stylish but safe production’


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A Chorus of Disapproval

Production Details
Production nameSingin' in the Rain
VenueThe Mill
LocationSonning
StartsNovember 30, 2019
EndsFebruary 8, 2020
Running time2hrs 40mins
AuthorAdolph Green, Betty Comden
ComposerArthur Freed, Nacio Herb Brown, Charlie Ingles
LyricistArthur Freed, Nacio Herb Brown
DirectorJoseph Pitcher
Musical directorFrancis Goodhand
ChoreographerAshley Nottingham
Set designerDiego Pitarch
Costume designerNatalie Titchener
Lighting designerJamie Platt
Sound designerJoshua Robins
Video designerTapio Snellman
CastBrendan Cull, Natalie Bennyworth, Philip Bertioli, Rebecca Jayne-Davies, Sammy Kelly, Oliver Bingham
ProducerThe Mill at Sonning
VerdictUltra classic, fleet-footed and fun staging of the MGM masterpiece.
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Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

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