“What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again!” sings the character Don Lockwood as he dances and sings in the rain, puddle splashing his love struck feet in pure joy. And this ‘happy again’ feeling is how the audience leaves the Nottingham Arts Theatre tonight after a splendid production of Singin’ In The Rain by Nottingham based Encore! Performing Arts.
With such a high standard of local talent on the stage the paucity of big bold expensive scenery doesn’t matter. Better to get the show itself fine tuned and toe tapping good. Indeed there are some very fine tunes in this ‘most favourite’ of musicals.
The title song ‘Singin In The Rain’ is well staged and technically exciting as well as terrifically sung by Mitch Gamble perfectly cast as lovable Don Lockwood. His sidekick Cosmo Brown played by young Lucas Young is exuberance itself; full of energy and clear talent Young rejoices in his comedy and dancing role as Cosmo and the audience love him for it. And he is only 18 darn it!
Alice Wright squeaks beautifully as silent movie star Lina Lamont and has great presence on stage as well as some lovely comic moments. Lisa Ambalavanar as Kathy Selden lights up the stage with her attractive personality, her comic timing and some beautifully sung numbers such as ‘Lucky Star’ and ‘You Were Meant For Me’ and the joyous ‘Good Mornin’ ‘.
Silver haired Mike Evans commands the stage as film impresario RF Simpson and as one of the older members of a fairly young ensemble his pedigree shows and his Shakespearian experience gives the role much gravitas.
Encore’s Singin’ In The Rain has a vibrant supportive ensemble who come into their own in such optimistic numbers as ‘Broadway Rhythm’, ‘Beautiful Girl’, ‘All I Do’ and ‘You Stepped Out Of A Dream’.
The production is finely directed by Adam Guest, excellently choreographed by Sian Scattergood and musically directed by Sam Griffiths who also plays on keyboards. Griffith’s twelve strong live orchestra is top notch quality sound. The technical and backstage crew should also be commended for their slick scene changes in this ambitious musical. The projected movie scenes are superbly realised and responded to by the well costumed ensemble.
With such upbeat numbers as ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’, ‘Moses Supposes’, ‘Good Mornin’ and ‘Fit As A Fiddle’ performed with such energy and style as is the case with the cast of Encore’s Singin In The Rain who wouldn’t go home happy? Just a shame it isn’t raining as we come out of the theatre. We could imagine lots of audience members singing dancing and splashing their way down George Street! Now wouldn’t that be fun?
Reviewer: Phil Lowe
Runs until Sat 1 Oct at Nottingham Arts Theatre.