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Photo: Jeff Busby

THEATRE: 13 JULY 2016

By JOHN ROZENTALS

Singin’ in the Rain (http://singin.com.au), by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed (composer/lyricist) | Directed by Jonathon Church

Lyric Theatre, Star City, Sydney

They’re issuing poncho-style raincoats for those in the first three rows of Singin’ in the Rain ... and with good reason. So realistic are the scenes with the title song that there’s a very good chance that members of the audience in those seats will get wet.

In fact, so outgoing was the dancing of Grant Almirall, playing the Don Lockwood role made famous in the 1952 film by Gene Kelly, that I’d say getting wet was a certainty for those people. Almirall, is sharing the role with Rohan Browne, while Adam Garcia overcomes injury.

The production features more than 800 metres of flexible pipework, a 9000-kilogram water tank and more than 12,000 litres of recycled water per performance.

In fact, the whole production is a splash hit, with wonderful performances from Almirall, Jack Chambers as Lockwood’s sidekick Cosmo Brown, Gretel Scarlett as the aspiring actress Kathy Seldon (Debbie Reynolds in the movie) and Erika Heynatz as Lina Lamont, Lockwood’s co-star.

Heynatz gives a particularly sterling performance as the brazen star who comes undone when the advent of “talkies” reveals that her voice, to put is mildly, is horrendous.

The story is set in 1927, and centres on production of the first Hollywood musical, made possible with the invention of synchronised sound, and the casting of silent-era stars Lockwood and Lamont in the lead roles.

That, of course, comes completely unstuck when Lamont’s tone-deaf, shrill singing becomes apparent. The solution is to use the voice of Kathy Seldon to cover up the star’s inadequacies but there are plenty of complications when Lamont discovers the planned deception.

Overall, it’s stunning show that demonstrates just how good a classical musical can be when done by skilled craftspeople, both on stage and behind it — even if the storyline has dated a little.

Thumbs up!

Grant Almirall ... Photo: Lindsay Kearney.

Erika Heynatz ... Photo: Jeff Busby.

Gretel Scarlett ... Photo: Jeff Busby.