Theatre Review: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – Opera House, Manchester


SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN UK Tour. Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

With its fabulous score, inventive choreography, and high production values, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is a joyous celebration of musical theatre.

5 out of 5 stars

It may have been 10 years since Jonathan Church’s critically acclaimed stage production of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN was first brought to life at Chichester Festival Theatre, but this fabulous fast-footed feast is still capable of making a splash as it heads to Manchester’s Opera House as part of a new UK tour.

Based on the 1952 MGM musical starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN tells the story of silent film star Don Lockwood, who falls for a chorus girl just as he and his jealous on-screen partner are trying to make the difficult transition from silent movies to talking pictures in 1920s Hollywood.

Adam Cooper in Singin’ in the Rain.

Mirroring the original film, both in style and content, it’s clear that the production team have worked hard to give SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN a fresh and modern edge. Simon Higlett’s stunning 1920s inspired set and costume design is a delight to watch, while Tim Mitchell’s lighting design helps the action move gracefully from the technicolour vibrancy of BROADWAY MELODY to the gentle and romantic YOU WERE MADE FOR ME.

The team also make good use of AV, lighting, and other production elements to bring a West End feel to this extensive regional tour. One example of this is the state-of-the-art water system which creates a downpour from above, flooding the stage with over 14,000 litres of recycled water to help recreate the iconic street dancing scene, much to the delight of the audience.

In the lead role as Don Lockwood, song and dance legend Adam Cooper stays true to the character, capturing the charisma and charm of Gene Kelly. His chemistry with the superb Charlotte Gooch as Kathy Seldon is natural and believable and the pair complement each other wonderfully in the dance numbers.

Charlotte Gooch and the cast of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

Charlotte Gooch and the cast of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

Ross McLaren delights as the comical Cosmo, his energetic dance routine in MAKE ‘EM LAUGH standing out as a highlight thanks to its wonderful choreography and amusing slapstick comedy.

Jenny Gayner is equally entertaining as Lina Lamont, bringing the ridiculous character to life in the most outrageous way.

But the real star of the show is Andrew Wright’s choreography. From ballet and tap to contemporary and modern jazz, every dance number is a whirlwind of colour, costumes, and complicated steps, with the 27-strong cast finale marking a perfect end to a visually spectacular show.

With its fabulous score, delightful comic touches and varied choreography, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is a joyous celebration of musical theatre. Grab yourself a ticket, you won’t be disappointed.

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN runs at the Opera House, Manchester, until 14 May 2022.