Singin’ in the Rain is one of the most celebrated, popular and iconic film musicals of all time. It’s a bold choice for any company to take on, not least an amateur youth group – but the RNCM Young Company attack it with enthusiasm, energy and incredible skill.
The classic story of silent movie star Don Lockwood forced into adapting to the talkie era, assisted by love interest Kathy Selden and best friend Cosmo Brown – and hindered by his clingy co-star Lina Lamont – is faithfully told in this production, with edits that make sense. Numbers from the film that are extraneous to the narrative, such as the Broadway Melody dream sequence or montage of outfits in Beautiful Girl, are cut. An additional song for Lina from the stage version, What’s Wrong With Me?, works nicely to flesh out her character.
It’s no surprise that the big numbers are the highlight. The catchy, joyful Moses Supposes is transformed into a quirky ensemble piece with speech cards and simple, effective choreography. Singin’ in the Rain is reprised as a whole cast finale, complete with synchronised twirling umbrellas, and the endurance marathon that is Good Morning brings the house down. Each one boasts fabulous singing and dancing, with the band of young musicians doing an excellent job of recreating the film’s infectious music.
Comic timing is strong across the cast – characters like Cosmo and Lina take some imitating, but the young actors do a stellar job of pulling off their acrobatic antics in Make ‘Em Laugh and high-pitched, sublimely ridiculous voice respectively.
Sets and costumes are rendered in faithful period detail, right down to the cake that Kathy jumps out of at the party. For the title number, a curtain of falling water halfway up the stage successfully creates the illusion of rain.
This show is a testament to the talent and hard work of the RNCM Young Company and, just like the 1952 film, it left me with the biggest smile on my face.