PRIME seats at the Festival Theatre for the next two weeks are the front rows of the stalls. That’s where the splashes land as the heavens open and understudy Matthew Malthouse performs the famous Gene Kelly routine with an umbrella and a lamppost.
Singin’ In The Rain - Edinburgh Festival Theatre
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Every time he kicks a puddle in our direction, the audience roars with delight. It reminds us we’re in a theatre watching a live event.
Otherwise, Jonathan Church’s post-West End production is essentially a tribute to the movie. He gives us not only the story of the coming of the talkies, when silent stars such as Faye Tozer’s squeaky-voiced Lina Lamont were suddenly yesterday’s news, but also a flashback to the golden era of the Hollywood musical.
Simon Higlett’s costume designs filter 1920s fashions through a 1950s colour palette, suggesting at once the clean lines of the flapper girl and the bold confidence of the brave new post-war world. The show is at its best when it gets closest to the adventurous spirit of Stanley Donen’s 1952 classic.
We see this most notably in the extended Broadway Melody routine. Led by an excellent Stephane Anelli as Cosmo Brown, it’s a sequence that celebrates dance for its own sake and choreographer Andrew Wright makes the most of it.
Other highlights include Anelli’s high-precision romp through Make ’em Laugh and the classic triple act of Good Morning in which Amy Ellen Richardson joins the male leads as a spirited Kathy Selden.
The emotional stakes may be low, but the feelgood factor is high.
Seen on 25.02.14
• Until 15 March