Singin’ in the Rain

Reviewed by Jodie Crawford

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This adaptation of the classic 1952 Gene Kelly film is a thing of charm and laughter.

Adam Cooper plays the role of Don Lockwood, a silent movie star, who is paired with the beautiful (but not so talented) Lina Lamont. Jenny Gayner plays this role brilliantly, and had the audience laughing their socks off in all of her scenes.

Lockwood and Lamont are marketed as Hollywoods golden couple, but Lockwood feels no love for Lamont and falls in love with the talented Kathy’s Selden (Charlotte Gouch).

When talking movies take America by storm producer RF Storm (Dale Rapley) is forced to make his new movie a talking picture, and with the help of Lockwood’s sidekick and best pal Cosmos Brown (played by the fabulous Ross McLaren) they make the movie a musical extravaganza – the only stumbling block is that Lamont cannot sing a note or dance a step- which is where Kathy comes in.

This production is an absolute delight. The talent is incredible. The ensemble hugely impressive – navigating us through the scenes and giving us some belters of dance numbers.

Ross MCLaren (Cosmos) and Jenny Gayner (Lina) provide us with the gags, real big belly laughs with their comic timing and delivery. McLarens energy is endless.

Cooper and Gooch are well matched and the chemistry between them is beautifully presented. Gooch’s voice is spectacular throughout the production while Cooper and Mclaren make a great duo – and these men know how to dance.

“Singing in the rain” is obviously the number we were all waiting for and it didn’t disappoint (although maybe it did disappoint those sitting in the first three rows if they hadn’t brought their raincoats!). Cooper gave the audience what they wanted and more- he was quick and light on his feet, showing us that even after all this time in this role he hasn’t lost any pizzazz.

But singing in the rain isn’t just about one song or one routine – the numbers are plentiful and they don’t disappoint – the choreography and the orchestra deliver time and time again throughout the production.

Special mention to the ensemble and Lockwood for the Ballet scenes – these were just magnificent, the audience rewarded this with a resounding applause and plenty of cheering.

This production is a must see, a real feel good show with plenty of heart and laughter. And Manchester loved it, the audience jumped to their feet before the reprise had even begun.

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo

I’m singing in the rain……. All the way home!

Go see it- you won’t be disappointed.

Singin’ in the Rain is on at Manchester’s Opera House until Saturday 14th May tickets available here.

The Red Shoes

THE RED SHOES

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures premiered The Red Shoes in 2016 it stunned audiences and critics alike, winning two Olivier Awards as well as the LA Critics’ Award for both choreography and set and costume design. Returning for 2019 this breathtakingly beautiful piece of theatre proves to be as timeless a classic as ever.

Based on the 1948 Powell and Pressburger film which drew it’s inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Red Shoes this perfectly paced production is rich in indulgent theatricality, sweeping you up on a joyous, heart-wrenching, mesmerising journey from the moment Benard Herrmann’s stunning score with orchestrations from Terry Davies begins.

THE RED SHOES

The Red Shoes tells the powerful story of young ballerina Victoria Page (Ashley Shaw) who swiftly rises to the position of principal dancer after her recent arrival at an established ballet company. Her success brings her to the attention of both composer Julain Craster (Dominic North) and also that of the dance company’s powerful impresario Boris Lermontov (Adam Cooper). With the first there is a genuine truth and innocence with the second the lure of higher artistic achievement pulls like a magnet, which ignites a battle between ambition and true love.

Ashley Shaw makes a welcome return to the role of Victoria Page a role she originated in 2016; her performance feels entirely authentic as she weaves her way through a whole spectrum of emotions capturing euphoria and bliss just as convincingly as she portrays terror and furious anger. This authentic emotion paired with her exquisite technique and precise delivery is nothing short of magnificent, embodying the young dancer to perfection. Her performance during The Ballet of The Red Shoes is mesmerising as she is firstly enthralled by then ultimately captured by the shoes, she tells the story movingly and with her whole being.

THE RED SHOES

Adam Cooper’s Boris Lermontov is strong and domineering, seductive in both his power and precision, he stalks the stage bringing an ever-present feeling of temptation and danger while Dominic North’s portrayal of struggling composer Julian Craster is a joy to watch, his solo piece in Act One develops a strong characterisation which he maintains superbly throughout

Bourne’s skilful storytelling and his unbeatable attention to detail matched with a company of dancers at the absolute top of their game ensures that this production enthrals entirely. From playful scenes on the French Riviera to intensely passionate duets every element of choreography is slick, masterful and exciting while every single person on stage gives an impressive and fully developed performance. It is such a visual treat almost cinematic at times that one viewing doesn’t feel like enough, every scene could stand alone and happily satisfy any theatre goer.

THE RED SHOES

Lez Brotherston award-winning set design is immediately striking and wonderfully effective. Allowing the audience access to both onstage and off-stage scenes via a grand revolving sumptuously curtained frame which almost feels like it pirouette’s before your eyes, drawing you into the very heart of the drama, lit beautifully by Paule Constable.

The Red Shoes is a unique piece of theatre in which every element has been crafted with such love and care that the end result is an unquestionably perfect piece of theatrical magic. Bourne’s wonderfully clear storytelling ensures that anyone dipping their toe into the dance world would find the show accessible while seasoned fans of his work will revel in the thrill of having another dazzling piece to enjoy, a masterpiece!

The Red Shoes is on at The Lowry until Saturday 30th November, tickets available here.