So I promised two posts in a day (ooh how very daring!!). Unfortunately I got drunk at a dinner party and feel asleep. I’m not doing too well with these promises am I? Never mind, here it is now! Hoorah 😀
I decided to rummage back through my suitcase of memories when it was raining (we needed it though didn’t we?) and came across this little play that I saw on my own a few months ago. Some people find it weird going to see productions on your own, but I actually really enjoy it once in a while. It’s a good bit of time to yourself to appreciate the piece and personally I wouldn’t want to miss seeing something simply because I can’t find anyone else who wants to see it (woe is me, I have no friends! Casual bit of self-indulgence there).
So I booked myself in to see this classic musical that had a mini revival at the iconic Palace theatre in London. In some ways this was the perfect choice of theatre to stage an adaptation of such an iconic film – Gene Kelly and his performance of the title song is one of the most recognisable scenes in film history (I also heard he did that whilst suffering awful flu and had to rest in bed for days afterwards – I can see why, singing in the rain when you’re under the weather… Nice little pun there, some might say it was PUNderful even…)
I adore this theatre, great location right by the world famous Shaftesbury Avenue. But the main reason I love this place is that it announces a new production with eye catching oversized decorations. I will never forget passing it one day when Priscilla Queen of the Desert was about to start and seeing an enormous white stiletto gracing the front of this beautiful building (side point, must go and see that musical, I heard it was quite something!). For Singin’ in the Rain the theatre was covered in brightly coloured umbrellas, a combination of tasteful decoration and an eye-catching statement to say that a new production had arrived.
Now this theatre has seen some spectacular performances in the past, of course not forgetting how it used to be home to the iconic musical Les Miserables for just under 20 years before it transferred to Queens Theatre down the road. Judi Dench played Sally Bowles here in Cabaret for the first time in the 60s after an incredible 6 year run of The Sound of Music. So the place has some history that would be hard to live up to. But an overly excitable friend of mine raved about this latest production in the theatre’s list of glitterati, so I was hopeful that I was in for a treat. When I moved flat she even got a slightly themed housewarming card (I predict subconsciously) that always make me think of her and this musical.
Buoyed by her enthusiasm I went in hopeful. It’s always such a shame when you go to see something with expectations, so many times it just doesn’t compare. This was one of those times. The set was average, the costumes in keeping with the time and the dancing overall was good. By far the best scene was the title song, cleverly performed in a sunken floor to catch the water but giving the male lead the opportunity to spray the front of the stalls whenever he felt like it. And he took some liberties doing this, hilarious!! However apart from this, Don Lockwood fell a fair way short of his film counterpart. I get how big the shoes would be to step into, but this lead had none of Gene’s sparkle or even much of a presence at all. Plusses for the show were the fact that it was colourful, vibrant and a bit of fun. But all in all I wasn’t experiencing that glorious feeling Gene seems to fill you with. Less of a downpour, more of a drizzle.
Word of the day – maudlin. Feels slightly like a grey, drizzly word