Last week, Her Majesty’s Theatre welcomed another musical that’s set to take Melbourne’s East End by storm, with Singin’ in the Rain shaping up to be a ‘splash hit’.
Coming from London’s West End, after a significant, sell-out UK stint that collected four Oliver award nominations – the ultimate British theatre accolades – Singin’ in the Rain has finally touched down in Australia.
Stage and screen star Adam Garcia (from Tap Dogs, Bootmen and Coyote Ugly fame) is bringing some big-name glamour and professionalism to the lead role of Don Lockwood – the character made famous by Gene Kelly – putting on his wellies and performing for Australian audiences for the first time in two decades.
Kelly’s immortalised ‘singing in the rain’ scene and the title song is a showstopper on stage with 12,000 litres of water being dumped onto the (slightly sunken) theatre floor, amidst a scene of brolly-twirling madness. If you’re lucky enough to score a seat in the first three rows – considered the ‘splash zone’ – you’ll very much need the stylish poncho that you’re given to wear.
The Singin’ in the Rain storyline…
Singin’ in the Rain transports the sophistication and glamour of Hollywood and the 1920s to the stage, telling the much-loved 1952 movie musical classic that depicts the demise of silent movies – and some of its stars – when the silver screen found its voice.
Lockwood (Garcia) is a silent movie actor with legendary George Clooney-like status, but his star is pinned to his fake fiancé and co-star Lina Lamont, who’s unique voice, that’s akin to strangling cats, is inevitably going to tank their next movie that’s being turned into a ‘talkie’. (Erika Heynatz does a wonderful and highly entertaining diva impersonation of Lamont and will no doubt lose her voice by the end of the season…) Enter rising star and Lockwood’s new love interest Kathy Selden (played by the incredibly talented Gretel Scarlett who completely transports you into the story), who’s a singing, dancing, acting triple threat, with the voice of maple syrup. Can she save the movie from doomed failure and rescue Lockwood’s reputation in the process?
So You Think You Can Dance’s inaugural winner Jack Chambers rounds out the world-class (and incredibly athletic) headline cast as Lockwood’s piano-playing pal, Cosmo Brown. Chambers’s energy and comedic slapstick were some of my favourite bits of the show.
To be brutally honest, I can probably count the number of musicals I’ve been to on one hand. So I’m not some critic fluent in the language of Broadway. Despite this musical naivety, I really – like really – enjoyed it. The story is infectious, costumes are breathtaking, the choreography is on point and the dancing energetically infectious, all with some genuine LOL-worthy humour sprinkled on top. Plus, it’s something different from the usual Friday night entertainment suspects of dinner and a movie, maybe a cocktail too.
Singin’ in the Rain finishes its Melbourne stint in July (read: don’t miss out Melburnians), before showering down on the Sydney Lyric Theatre, then hitting Brisbane’s QPAC’s Lyric Theatre in September, and the Adelaide Festival Theatre and Crown Theatre Perth from December onwards.
(Apologies for all the water puns, they were just flowing out like a downpour through my typing fingers).
Singin’ in the Rain | Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Victoria
Tickets from $69.90