Singin’ and dancin’ and splashin’ at the New Victoria

IT’S no small task bringing one of the most-loved movie musicals to the stage. But the production of Singin’ in the Rain at Woking’s New Victoria is a dancin’, singin’ and splashin’ smash hit, writes Mark Miseldine.

Cast members of Singin’ in the Rain, doing just that

The impressive set and strong visuals conjure a glamour of Hollywood in the roaring 20s, and the energetic, hard-working cast bring a sense of delight that leaves you smiling for the whole performance.

Leading man Adam Cooper recreates Gene Kelly’s legendary dance routine

It’s a light-hearted plot, a movie studio trying to keep up with the transition from silent films to talking pictures. But it allows for plenty of comedy, and a wealth of dance across a variety of styles.

It’s a triumphant return to her local theatre for Charlotte Gooch, playing Kathy Selden, the feisty, talented chorus girl who wants to become a star.

Charlotte credits some of her greatest inspirations and influences as coming from childhood trips to the New Victoria. It’s an impressive journey, from watching shows there to holding the spotlight and playing a lead role in a musical on that stage. With a commanding, stylish presence, she’s a captivating dancer and singer, and will, no doubt, be inspiring a new generation as to what they could also achieve.

Ross McLaren carries much of the laughs as Cosmo Brown, including the physical comedy of Make ‘Em Laugh, his comic timing as sharp as his tap skills, hitting every beat of a complicated routine.

As Lina Lamont, the studio’s leading lady, Faye Tozer does very well. Lina has the face of a screen goddess – but also, unfortunately, a grating voice like nails down a chalkboard, a big problem with the arrival of talking pictures. But although vain and shallow, Faye gives the character plenty of heart that almost balances out Lina’s conniving nature.

Charlotte Gooch plays the starring role of hidden star Kathy Selden

Adam Cooper as Don Lockwood anchors the show, tackling the role – and iconic dance routine – made famous by Gene Kelly. His Don is an uplifting presence, and a dancing force of nature. He certainly makes a splash during the Singin’ in the Rain big number.

As you hear the opening bars of music, and rain falls across the stage, it’s a mesmerising live experience. The water is almost an extra cast member, and there’s a lot of it, with more than 6,000 litres falling during every performance. It’s kicked, stamped and splashed with gusto – if you’re sitting in the first couple of rows, you probably will get wet.

The whole show is a feast for the eyes, delivered by a cast expressing a joy of dance and performing, and who don’t put a foot wrong. There are still some tickets available for tonight, plus the matinee and final show tomorrow. Do yourself a favour and catch it while you can.

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