Singin’ In The Rain
Until Saturday, February 8
The Mill at Sonning
0118 969 8000
To describe the cast of a musical as being ‘a bit wet’ would not usually be regarded as a compliment. However, this description of The Mill’s latest festive offering is perfectly apt as waterproofs were donned, brollies opened and the front row of the audience draped in protective coverings as the show – and the heavens – opened in spectacular fashion.
Packed to the rafters with music from a live (but hidden) band, dancing to rival Strictly and side-splitting comedy, Singin’ in the Rain is truly another triumph from this popular local theatre.
The show opens with a modern twist as the back story is cleverly told via projected images from a mobile phone.
The historical scene is set with effective – and highly amusing – silent movie sequences starring members of the cast accompanied by old-time piano music.
This juxtaposition of live and recorded action perfectly illustrates the dilemma of movie companies of the day – stick with what they knew or enter the brave new world of the ‘talkie’ where having a pretty face simply wasn’t enough.
The ‘pretty face’ is provided by Sammy Kelly as drama queen Lina Lamont whose fabulous fingernails-down-a-blackboard voice proves to be a problem when she was required to talk or sing.
She stars opposite the multi-talented Philip Bertioli as the debonair Don Lockwood who sang, danced, tapped and slap-sticked his way through the show, obviously enjoying every minute – particularly when attempting to soak the audience.
Don’s partner in crime and comedy is the incorrigible Cosmo Brown, played superbly by Brendan Cull. One of the many finest moments of the evening has to be the incredible acting and choreography to the song Make ‘Em Laugh where gag followed gag in a brilliantly funny, high-energy routine.
The joyful energy between the two men in their many scenes together was palpable.
The chemistry was further enhanced by the ambitious and hugely talented Kathy Lockwood (Rebecca Jayne-Davies). The trio’s rendition of Good Mornin’ was another highlight.
Possibly the biggest laugh-out-loud scene stars the multi-facetted Sorelle Marsh in her role of vocal coach Miss Dinsmore as she attempts to refine the less-than dulcet tones of Lina Lamont, then is encouraged by Don and Cosmo to show off her own elocutionary talents, to spectacular effect.
Special mention must be made of the all-singing, all tap-dancing ensemble whose quick-changes and perfectly synchronised footwork brought added sparkle to every dance routine.
Many pairs of tap shoes are sure to be worn out during the course of this show, which continues until Saturday, February 8, 2020.