Sunday, September 27, 2015

REVIEW: Singin' in the Rain

HKAPA Lyric Theatre, Saturday September 26

Be it crashing chandelier, landing helicopter, flying Peter or pouring rain, who doesn't like these stage technical wonders that magically transform the stage into thrilling entertainment? This Singin' in the Rain is an adaptation from the 1952 movie of the same name. With a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Arthur Freed, and music by Nacio Herb Brown, the story is about the waning days of the silent screen era. It focuses on romantic lead Don Lockwood, his sidekick Cosmo Brown, aspiring actress Kathy Selden, and Lockwood's leading lady Lina Lamont, whose squeaky shrill voice is a disaster-in-waiting for talking pictures.


I saw this production back in December 21 2012 at London's Palace Theatre and I remember saying that, "this version directed by Jonathan Church and choreographed by Andrew Wright, boasts a really polished production". This outing in Hong Kong was pretty faithful based on what I can remember. The production design was absolutely glorious, tight and magical... Have I mentioned rain? Seeing the choreography the second time around made me realize that it was more than just classic Hollywood though, but also loaded and compelling. For the opening night, it was unfortunate that there were some mic issues in the first half, though it was all solved in the second half. The one thing that I wish was amplified better were the tap sections of the show.

Performance wise, the three main leads (Duane Alexander, Steven Van Wyk & Bethany Dickson) were very skilled and competent; though for some reason, their combination just didn't reach the height of synergy shown in the London performance I saw (Adam Cooper, Daniel Crossley & Scarlett Strallen). Taryn-Lee Hudson as the vocally-challenged Lina Lamont was uproariously effective.

I am still sore at the fact that this West End production do not have the signature run-up-wall backflip made famous by Donald O'Connor as Cosmo Brown in the movie number Make 'Em Laugh. AND it is not impossible to replicate it on stage as demonstrated back in 2002, when the Australian production toured Hong Kong, Wayne Scott Kermond did the exact stunt to wondrous effect!


Have I mentioned rain? The rain sequence was pure wizardry. Every splish and splash onto the audience drew a wave of laughters from the dry ones. Better yet, it was repeated at the end with the whole cast! In summary, the evening was infectiously enjoyable and the production is a splashing hit! GO and CATCH IT!

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