It has been more then 70 years since the release of the iconic 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain and more then 40 years since the stage musical had its’ world premier in 1983 at the London Palladium. Stage musicals that are based on old films are so enjoyable because they create such a sense of nostalgia for a time many of us never knew. It is so exciting to see a classic film brought to life and last night this production made a big splash at the Empire Theatre.

Set in Hollywood during the late 20’s, in the waning days of the silent screen era, Monumental Pictures find themselves competing in the whole new realm of talking movies. Romantic lead Don Lockwood (Peter Nash) and his leading lady Lina Lamont (Jenny Gayner) are on-screen sweethearts and together, cinema gold! Lamont may look like a goddess but her not so pleasing to the ear vocal tones, make her an unlikely candidate for stardom in talking pictures. Lockwood’s sidekick Cosmo Brown (Kevin Clifton) masterminds a plan to save the production company from being transcended by their rivals. Aspiring chorus girl and Lockwood’s love interest, Kathy Selden’s (Charlotte Gooch) comes to save the film.

This was a sensational production. The set (Simon Higlett) was a replica of a sound stage which was transformed into a number of different places such as the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and an office inside the sound stage. The lightning (Tim Mitchell) created different atmospheres throughout the production. The costumes (Karen Large) were utterly breathtaking, the glittering dresses and fur shawls took you back to the golden age of Hollywood. The score played by a live orchestra, directed by Grant Walsh, was packed with classic numbers including ‘Make Em Laugh’, ‘Moses Supposes’ and ‘Good Morning’. The choreography by Andrew Wright was superb.

The scene we were all waiting for… Singin in the Rain of course, with a lamp post, umbrella and torrential rain pouring onto stage… It really was a WOW moment that surpasses the film. The production uses a special water system that creates a downpour from above and recycles over 12000 litres of water on stage every night!

While the leads are the standouts of this musical, the entire ensemble deserves a mention and great praise, they have so much energy on stage, and there is just something about live tap dancing. However, for me the show was stolen by Jenny Gayner, who played Lina Lamont, she brought real comedy and received most of the audience laughs.

Musicals do not get any better. Singin’ in the Rain had me dancin’ in my seat. True magic theatre that evokes that old Hollywood glamour, deserving of the standing ovation it received last night!