REVIEW: Singin’ In The Rain at Chichester Festival Theatre

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THE ADVENT of high definition TV and 3D movies have caused something of a revelation for viewers in the past few years.

But these visual developments are nothing compared to the revolution in the late 1920s when Talkies replaced silent films.

Suddenly actors and actresses who had had to rely only on their good looks had to produce excellent speaking and singing voices too.

Not every star survived such scrutiny.

Chichester’s latest production is a musical account of this extraordinary upheaval.

Don Lockwood (Adam Cooper) and Lina Lamont (Katherine Kingsley) are Hollywood stars of the silent screen. But when technology lets the public hear them, Lina’s squeaking tones are found wanting.

So enters, stage left, Kathy Selden (Scarlett Strallen) who is hired to dub the starlet’s voice.

Of course, Singin’ In The Rain is more than merely an artistic representation of this slice of Hollywood history.

The film itself has past into legend.

Thanks to Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly it is one of the movie milestones in the development of the great celluloid musical.

This latest theatrical production does nothing to dent that reputation.

Indeed, the CFT’s version will rank as one of the greatest, most joyous, most breathtaking productions ever to grace its stage.

From the set - which is literally awash with water for the key musical number - to the fantastic costumes, marvellous choreography, and wonderful cast, every part of this production is sheer magic.

It is filled with fun, passion, humour, colour - and vitality.

It’s theme may be rain - but it brings a wonderful burst of sunshine to Chichester.

Cooper and Strallen are simply amazing. But no-one falls short in this production.

It’s a long time since a show got such a rapturous standing ovation in conservative Chichester.

This one deservedly did. And I was on my feet too.

When it comes to rain dances, this one is guaranteed to work wonders.

Gary Shipton