I’ve had five previous encounters with Singin’ in the Rain, making it one of my most watched musicals. However, I’d not seen Quarry Bank Musical Theatre Company before but had read about their high pedigree. It was also a nice surprise to see a number in the cast from the nearby and excellent, Third From the Right Productions, therefore, expectations for me were high.

A slight negative (not with the company, I add) is that Brierley Hill Civic Hall has an atmosphere not best suited for musical theatre, however Quarry Bank more than made up for this with an excellent show. Filled with easily recognisable tunes, Singin’ in the Rain portrays the advent of talking pictures through its central characters.

For Don Lockwood on stage we had Richard Cope who played the part to perfection. Magnificent vocals with equally good dance to complement as shown in the title number. In the role of Kathy Seldon was Francesca Handley who matched her partner in love on stage with a stand-out and flawless performance, including a terrific rendition of Would You? Then we had Louise Griffin as Lina Lamont. It’s one thing to get vocals and diction right, but when these are meant to be awful for the character, this involves some skill and Louise pulled it off, especially in What’s Wrong With Me?

Now, I hate to pick out favourites but occasionally can’t help it. Danny Teitge as Cosmo Brown made the stage come alive every time he appeared. Always some mannerism or change in tone of voice to give us a marvellous character performance. And brilliant in Make ’em Laugh.

Other good numbers included All I Do is Dream of You, Beautiful Girls, Moses Supposes, You Are My Lucky Star and the familiar, Good Morning. Then we have the dance spectacular in Act Two with Broadway Melody.

Supporting well on the night among a fantastic chorus were Lee Connelly (Sid/Rod), Sarah Coussens (Zelda), Keshie Herbert (Dora Bailey), Mike James (R F Simpson), Jo Tranter (Miss Dinsmore) and Jake Winwood (Roscoe Dexter). A sign of a good society is how much energy and enjoyment projects from the stage into the auditorium, or in this case – hall, and there was plenty of that on offer by Quarry Bank.

The direction for Singin’ in the Rain was in the hands of Steve Ganner with musical direction by Richard Ganner and choreography from Donna Jones. Job well done by all.

Singin’ in the Rain has some great moments, and Quarry Bank gave us real rain on top of these. I always like the studio scene with the microphone in the bush and the pre-recorded films had great comic moments. However, I do find the opening backstory from Don a bit tedious that early in the show, but I guess you can’t have everything.

So, sixth time seeing Singin’ in the Rain and was it a good experience? 6 out of 6 as far as I’m concerned in terms of top performances.

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

 

© Antony N Britt 2018

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