Review: Singin’ in the Rain, Sadler’s Wells

Singin’ in the Rain retains all of its charm from Chichester in this lovely revival at Sadler’s Wells

“You can charm the critics and have nothin’ to eat”

It’s a good 10 years since I was soaked to the skin at Chichester Festival Theatre at their delightful revival of this classic musical. It later transferred into London though I resisted revisiting (I had willpower then!), but Singin’ in the Rain‘s reappearance with a short run at Sadler’s Wells ahead of a mooted UK tour next year was an ideal summer indulgence.

And so it came to pass on a rainy British summer evening. Sat a little further back in the stalls, we avoided the splash zone inside, having also managed to dodge most of the showers outside. And spirits were easily lifted by Jonathan Church’s entirely cheerful production of this light and breezy show which captures so much of the charm of the original MGM film.
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News: full casting for Singin’ in the Rain at Sadlers Wells Theatre

Kevin Clifton, Faye Tozer, Charlotte Gooch and Cavin Cornwall are to join Adam Cooper to lead the Chichester Festival Theatre and Stage Entertainment production of the Olivier Award-nominated musical Singin’ in the Rain.

The production will play a strictly limited run at Sadler’s Wells from Friday 30 July – Sunday 5 September 2021, ahead of a 2022 UK tour (tour casting to be announced). Former professional Strictly Come Dancing favourite Kevin Clifton (theatre credits include Rock of Ages, UK Tour; Burn the Floor, West End, UK and International tours; Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, West End) will play Cosmo Brown. 

Steps and stage star Faye Tozer (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, West End; Me and My Girl and Tell me on a Sunday, UK tours) plays leading lady Lina Lamont. Principal casting is completed by Charlotte Gooch (Strictly Ballroom and Top Hat in the West End, Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, first UK Tour and West End) as aspiring actress Kathy Seldon and Cavin Cornwall (Disney’s Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre; Jesus Christ Superstar, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and world arena tour; Star Wars: The Last Jedi) as film producer, RF Simpson. Continue reading “News: full casting for Singin’ in the Rain at Sadlers Wells Theatre”

Film Review: Rocketman (2019)

Elton John gets in on the self-produced musical biopic game, meaning Rocketman is gonna take a long long time to get anywhere near the truth

“People don’t pay to see Reginald Dwight… 
they pay to see *Elton John*!”

I always find there being something a little suspect about the subject of a biopic being intimately involved behind the scenes, that sense that you’re only being permitted to see a carefully curated version of this particular story (cf Tina the Musical, On Your Feet onstage; Bohemian Rhapsody most recently on film). And Rocketman ultimately proves no exception, with Elton John executive producing and husband David Furnish getting a producer credit, and Wikipedia thus offering up a substantial list of deviations from what actually happened

You might argue that as the film, written by Lee Hall and directed by Dexter Fletcher, isn’t a documentary, it doesn’t need to concern itself with an absolute fidelity to historical record. But I just find it fascinating this need to embellish, so much being smuggled under the umbrella of ‘creative license’ that can’t always be explained away with the ‘needs’ of filmmaking. Things as fundamental as changing the inspiration for Reg Dwight’s stage name from his mentor Long John Baldry to John Lennon, or claiming that ‘Daniel’ and ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues’ were the songs he auditioned for with Dick James when neither had been written yet. At what point does that creative license start being straight-up dishonesty? Continue reading “Film Review: Rocketman (2019)”

Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Landor

“Give me the meat without the gravy”

Based on a film from 1967, the musical of comedy pastiche Thoroughly Modern Millie actually only dates back to 2000, though a substantial deal of its humour harks back to an uncomfortably old-school era. Set in 1920s New York, Millie Dillmount arrives determined to marry for money instead of love but finds herself mixed up in a white slavery ring run by a faded actress pretending to be a Chinese woman (as you do). The Landor has a sterling record in successfully mounting small-scale productions of big musicals but Matthew Iliffe’s production doesn’t always hit the mark. 

Full of fresh young faces, the company brims with youthful vigour and there’s lots of potential on show. Sarah-Marie Maxwell displays wonderful comic timing, Samuel Harris could do with a little more volume but his patter song is good and in a number of small roles, Charlie Johnson stands out in the ensemble. But even with ethics aside, Steph Parry can’t quite carry off the jaded persona of Mrs Meers, nor Chipo Kureya invest bon vivant Muzzy van Hosmere with enough personality to really fill the room.  Continue reading “Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Landor”