Review: Singin In The Rain starring Liverpools Jenny Ellison at Palace Theatre, London

Posted on 8 March 2013
By Angela Johnson
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If the clouds suddenly open, and you happen to be in an upbeat mood, there’s only one tune that inevitably pops into mind. Yes, that familiar, carefree melody you just have to set free #Doo-do-doo-doo Doo-do-doo-doo-doo-doo…#

Whether you are a fan of musicals or not, for the ultimate feel good show, you just cannot beat Singin’ In The Rain. Enjoying a successful West End run at London’s Palace Theatre, the show welcomes a new addition to the cast in the voluptuous form of Liverpool talent Jenny Ellison.

Ellison’s previously starred on stage in the smash hits Calendar Girls and Legally Blonde. Here the Liverpool lovely further proves to display incredible comic timing as she shines in the marvellously over-the-top role of silent movie siren Lina Lamont. With a grating New York accent, the advent of the ‘talkies’ throws Lina’s booming career into jeopardy as everyone (except her) quickly realises she was destined for silence… and she just CAN’T stand it.

Adam Cooper (Billy Elliot, Swan Lake) fills the shoes of charming Hollywood hunk Don Lockwood. Keen to escape his screen co-star Lina’s clutches and adapt to the ‘talkies’, he is further inspired by a chance meeting with true love Kathy Selden – played by Louise Bowden (Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia!) – the pair display a sharp chemistry with fluid dance moves and voices so pure they will melt your heart.

The choreography and staging is nothing short of outstanding, throughout the opening act the crowd are palpably anticipating the infamous number and, as water begins to pour from atop the stage onto our protagonist, we are not disappointed. An indulgently gleeful scene, and Cooper delights in soaking the front 8 rows repeatedly, drawing light hearted laughter (from the dry portion of the stalls!) with every well-aimed kick. Cooper is clearly comfortable portraying this performance made legendary by Gene Kelly, making it his own, it’s both fresh and thrilling in this live arena.

The anthem makes for a perfect close of the first half but don’t mistake this as a show with only one signature tune. The score may be lacking a real ‘want’ song but the feel good factor just keeps on raining down with Good Morning, Would You and a hilarious solo by Ellison once Lina’s spurned by Lockwood: What’s wrong with me? Stephane Annelli shines with charisma in the part of loveable, loyal sidekick Cosmo Brown and he positively steals the show with ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’.

The plot is engaging, easy to follow and, most importantly, keeps you hooked with a smile on your face as the script is littered with gags. The clever use of the backdrop to play the ‘movie’ footage is inspired, and really helps transport us back to 1927 and bring the predicament of the studio’s adjustment to ‘talkies’ to life. We are rooting for Don and Kathy all the way to the gloriously sodden encore, and I can testify that *that* tune, and cheery mood, won’t leave you for days!

Absolutely splashing! ***** (5 stars = Perfection! Cannot fault it)

Singin’ in the Rain is currently booking at the Palace Theatre (0844 412 4656) until 31 August 2013. For more information visit: www.singinintherain.co.uk.