Like most, what comes to mind when we hear of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is the iconic scene of screen legend Gene Kelly totally soaked and dancing in the rain to the infectious title tune but beyond that, we’ve only got scant impressions of what the musical is about. But after last night, I’m happy to say that for this seasoned musical-going family, not anymore.
Most musicals that have graced the stage of the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore have reputations that preceded them, mainly in part due to their elaborate sets, stunning visual effects or blockbuster soundtracks making ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, slightly underrated in this regard. But don’t be fooled, this Broadway musical is a phenomenal delight.
Highly entertaining and energetic, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ pays tribute to the early days of the silver screen and sends home the subtle message about the film industry that despite the introduction of new technologies, pure talent can never be rivaled and replaced by technology.
The plot is simple: Set in 1927 in Tinseltown at the height of the silent movies, Don Lockwood is a silent movie star with everything he could want – fame, adulation and a well-publicized ‘romance’ with his co-star, the obnoxious Lina Lamont. But Hollywood is about to change forever. There is rumour in the studio of a new kind of film, where the actors actually talk…and sing…and dance. Can Don and the “uniquely” voiced Lina make the transition successfully? Will chorus girl, Kathy Selden be able to fulfill her dream of stardom using her beautiful voice?
With a predominantly stationary backdrop, the talented cast who hails from London’s West End wowed the packed hall with their perfectly synchronized tap dancing routines scene after scene, which when coupled with the humorous lines delivered in slapstick comedic timing, nearly made us roll on the floor laughing. It was not uncommon to hear the audience break into infectious laughter spontaneously throughout the 160 minute long musical.
The singing was top notch. Noteworthy was the lead actress, Bethany Dickson, who previously played the vocally-demanding role of Governess Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’. Starring as Lockwood’s love interest, Kathy Selden’s crystal clear voice anchored the musical with her smooth, emotive vocals . Steven van Wyk who stars as the charismatic Cosmo Brown (sidekick to Don Lockwood) was so witty he deserves his own stand up comedy show!
Then there’s Taryn-Lee Hudson who plays Lina Lamont, Don’s self-conceited co-star and the resident Prima-donna at Monumental Pictures. In love with Don, she tries very hard to win his heart and leverages on the tabloids to persuade Don of their compatibility. Taryn plays her so bad, she was actually good. Make that VERY good. She was that someone we all loved to hate. Many of her scenes nearly made the night’s audience laugh off our seats!
Finally, there’s Duane Alexander, playing the lead Don Lockwood (and standing in for Grant Almirall who is recovering from an injury). His boyish charm, nifty footwork and clear vocals fit the role really well. His delivery of the iconic scene, ‘Singin in the Rain’ was so effective that the audience could share his exuberant feeling of being in love contrasted against the gloom of the storm. Not an easy feat considering the anticipation for that scene. Bravo!
Integral to the entire production is the live orchestra. we were hoping there would be a live band accompanying the production especially considering that it was set in the era where early jazz gave birth to dance forms like the Charleston and Ragtime music. We were not disappointed! It was sheer joy to hear this genre of music performed live, right here in Singapore!
On our way to the theatre, we were unsure how this musical would measure up to the other bigger ‘blockbuster’ ones that we have watched but by intermission, all our fears have dissipated. ‘Singin in the Rain’ was so engaging, so entertaining and such an exuberant production. Even our 7 year-old enjoyed it thoroughly as she sang, laughed and tapped along! The movie’s iconic choreography is flawlessly recreated, and with the help of lots of recycled water, the audience can enjoy one of the most famous dance routines live on stage.
‘Singin in the Rain’ is an inspiring musical that celebrates the timeless human spirit of tenacity, resilience and friendship that will see us through any circumstances, come rain or shine. Don’t miss this highly entertaining tale that is full of charm, romance, comedy, tinseltown glamour coupled with big colourful costumes, high-energy choreography and a superb score. Encore!
Thank you Marina Bay Sands and Base Entertainment for bringing this iconic musical to our shores.
‘Singin in the Rain’
9 July to Sun, 2 August 2015
Tuesdays to Fridays: 8pm
Saturdays: 2pm & 8pm
Sundays: 1pm & 6.30pm
Venue: Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
Disclaimer: We were invited to watch this musical for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are ours and photos belong to Base Entertainment Asia.