Reviewed by Sue Rumble
Everybody knows the famous Gene Kelly performance and song in the 1950’s film production of Singing in the Rain, although I haven’t ever watched the whole film so did not know the full story. I was excited to see the musical theatre production and interested to see how they would do the pouring rain scene. The musical is set in 1927 – the roaring 20’s and the costumes, dancing and the way the cast speak etc reflects this decade very well.
Booking & getting there
Birmingham Hippodrome is centrally located in the city centre about a 10 minute walk from New Street Station. We travelled by car, the theatre is easy to find and there are a number of car parks within walking distance of the theatre. There are currently a lot of road works on the way into the City Centre but this was not a big problem. We parked at the Arcadian NCP car park, only a 2-minute walk from the theatre, which offers a post 5pm theatre rate of £7.50 for the evening. The queues to pay at the machine and then to exit the car park were not too bad & we were on our way reasonably quickly.
Venue & facilities
Birmingham Hippodrome is a modern theatre, which offers BSL Interpreted, Captioned and Audio Described performances. The seat row letters were clearly lit up and illuminated, making it extremely easy to locate your seats. We were lucky enough to be seated in the stalls with a perfect view of the stage and felt fully immersed within the production. The theatre is very clean. Drinks could be ordered in advance for the interval and were left to be collected, well labelled and ready to go.
Price & Value
The price range of tickets, in my opinion, is extremely good value for money given the quality and length of performance. Prices are dependent on performance day and time and also where you decide to sit.
The storyline is based around the transition from silent films to `talkies’, where everyone has trouble adapting and do not understand how the sound will be recorded. Don and Lina have been cast repeatedly as a romantic couple in silent films, but when their latest film is remade into a talkie and then a musical, only Don has the voice for the new singing part. After a lot of practise with a diction coach, Lina still sounds terrible, and Kathy, a bright young aspiring actress, is hired to record over her voice. Don has no romantic feelings for Lina although she thinks he does. Don falls for Kathy when he first meets her in the street but it takes her a little while to feel the same. Dons best friend Cosmo a good dancer & singer himself, never take the limelight and is the brains behind the ideas of voice over and making the film into a musical.
I would recommend this show for anybody who likes a funny, fast moving, professional musical. The dancing and choreography were excellent. The story was told with dance and songs and we were fully immersed in the story and the characters. The voice of Lina (played by Jenny Gayner) was totally awful – what an actress to be able to do this consistently throughout the show. Don (Sam Lips), Kathy (Charlotte Gooch) and Cosmo (Ross McLaren – who I recognised from the series Doctors) were excellent singers and dancers. The tap dancing all through the show was incredible – a style of dance that I hadn’t seen for a long time. The energy that the whole cast had was amazing – some of the dance routines were quite long but the cast didn’t out a foot wrong – all were in sync and looked like they were enjoying every minute.
The show was very funny in parts , something that I didn’t expect prior to the show. I particularly liked the ‘slapstick’ scene – “Make’Em Laugh” which was all about Cosmo. He was brilliant – very funny and very clever choreography.
The rain scene with the famous title song “Singing in The Rain” was at the end of Act 1. The water poured down onto the stage and Don danced in the pouring rain – splashing and showering the audience in the first few rows. How he didn’t fall over or slip I will never know – amazing. It must have taken the crew the whole of the 20 minute interval to clear the water up. This song and rain was repeated at the end of the show. I did not recognise a lot of the songs except for “Good Morning, good morning” but they were catchy and told the story really well.
The costumes were great – some business like to fit with the scenes and some very colourful – the “Broadway” scene where the ladies were wearing typical fringed Flapper dresses. The sets were quite simple but were what was needed for the show.
The orchestra normally in the pit in front of the stage were behind a curtain at the back of the stage. We did see them at the beginning of Act 2 and also at the end of the show.
I would definitely recommend this show for anyone who likes a good story and lots of amazing dancing and singing.
Date of performance – 7th June 2022
Date of review – 8th June 2022
Running Time – 2 hrs 35 minutes including a 20 minute interval
Rating out of 5 – 4.5 out of 5
Price of tickets – £28.00 to £65.00
Buy tickets – www.birminghamhippodrome.com
Tickets & information 0844 388 5010
Venue – Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre, Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB
Dates showing – Monday 6th June 2022 to Saturday 11th June 2022 in Birmingham
Birmingham Hippodrome – Singing in The Rain