Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Singin' in The Rain"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"Singin' in The Rain"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Company Theatre's current show is "Singin' in the Rain", the 1986 stage version of the 1952 Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds film. Set in 1927 Hollywood, the show is a light-hearted romantic comedy about the early days of sound film, when many a studio found itself scrambling to salvage the careers of its chipmunk-voiced silent film stars. Directors Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman recreate the bygone days of the 1920's while musical director Michael Joseph leads the 18 piece orchestra and cast in the melodic songs of the era and choreographer Sally Ashton Forrest creates magical moments with her inventive dance numbers especially all the fantastic tap dances, Charlestons, soft shoe and Fred and Ginger number. Since the show is about old black and white films of the past, special praise goes to Tim Kilburn for his hysterically funny film sequences.

Zoe and Jordie block this huge show wonderfully while Michael conducts the gorgeous sounding orchestra and Sally's dance numbers stop the show with the cast's perfect execution of them. The many gorgeous authentic 1920's costumes are by Shirley Carney, the splendid sets are by James Valentin, expert lighting especially the New York City Skyline for "Gotta Dance" is by Michael Clark Wonson. John King plays the leading man, Don Lockwood. He is splendid in this role. John's dancing will leave you breathless especially in the show stopping "Singing in the Rain" number where he dances about the stage energetically, splashing around in puddles and leaping up on a lamppost which ends Act 1 and "Gotta Dance" which is part of the talking movie where the chorus members get to show off their dance moves with him. Both numbers are long dance segments which John handles with ease. He is also terrific when he sings "You Were Meant for Me" where he and Amanda do a Fred and Ginger dance and "You are My Lucky Star" to his love interest in this show, Kathy Seldon played by Amanda Joy Loth. John is the best Don Lockwood I have ever seen onstage and garners a standing ovation at the close of the show. Amanda is a statuesque brunette who plays the spunky ingenue. Kathy steals Don's heart by insulting his acting talents. Amanda gets to show off her lovely voice in the "All I Do is Dream of You" number with the girls while they Charleston and she gets to throw a cake in Lina's face during this scene, "Would You", "You Are My Lucky Star" and in "Good Morning" where they do a marvelous tap dance and at the end of it they flip over a couch. One of the funniest people in the show is Michael Hammond as Cosmo. He is hilarious from the first moment he walks out on the stage. Michael is a triple threat performer who tap dances up a storm with John in "Fit As a Fiddle" where they are clad in ugly suits while pretending to play fiddles as well as in "Moses Supposes" where they tap dance all over the stage and on top of a desk. This number stops the show as does his solo, "Make 'Em Laugh" where he does pratfall after pratfall while constantly dancing all over as well as running into walls and boards, too. Michael has many one liners and makes everyone of them count. One of the biggest scene stealers in this show is by Kimberly Barrett as Lina Lamont, the high pitched nasal voiced untalented silent film star. The microphone scene where she keeps turning her head at the wrong time is priceless as is the film scene where she keeps playing with her pearl necklace, causing horrible noises in the film. Kim truly creates a dumb blonde who keeps you laughing merrily at her many crazy antics as this over the top diva. Her show stopping number is "What's Wrong with Me" where her deliberate off key voice, facial expressions and sexual innuendoes are terrific.

Other funny performances are given by Christopher Hagberg as the exasperated tres gay director, Roscoe Dexter who Lina drives crazy, Chris DiOrio as R.F. Simpson the befuddled producer who has to turn his silent film studio into a talkie one quickly, Kelly Hines Browne as gossip columnist Dora Baily who fawns over all the performers, Anne Thornton as a diction teacher who doesn't have much success with Lina and Chris Hagberg who also plays another diction teacher who gets thrown about in "Moses Supposes". Another strong vocalist in the show is Brendan Cawley as the tenor who sings "Beautiful Girls" while dancing up a storm with the chorus girls. The fantastic finale number is "Singin' in the Rain" where the cast appears in raincoats and with umbrellas while dancing to it. So for a trip back to the carefree days of 1920's Hollywood, be sure to catch the stage version of "Singing in the Rain" where, yes, it really does rain on stage.

"Singin' in The Rain" ( 18 March - 10 April)
COMPANY THERATRE
30 Accord Park Drive, NORWELL,MA
1(781)871-2787

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