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Make ’em laugh

04 Jul 2017

Exuberant, witty, effervescent, glamorous, starstruck fans and lovestruck stars, and an all-singing all-dancing ensemble tip-tip-tapping their way into our hearts ... The Christ’s College and St Margaret’s College production of classic musical comedy Singin’ in the Rain transported us to late-1920s Hollywood, where a story about the game-changing impact of new technology unspooled alongside a timeless tale about love.

Hugo Beale as leading man Don Lockwood had just the right amount of film star charisma, playing his role with energy, “dignity” and charm. By the time he was splashing and dancing and “Singin’ in the Rain”, most of the audience were probably wishing they had seats in the Splash Zone.

His leading lady Lina Lamont was brought to vivid life by Nina Hogg. But her luminous beauty – the “shimmering glowing star in the cinema firmament” – was undermined the moment she opened her mouth. Nina as Lina was fierce and manipulative with just the right amount of vulnerability, she had great timing and stayed completely focused. Her “fingernails down a blackboard” voice never wavered and sadly, for Lina, meant her days in cinema were numbered. Not simply unlucky in love, she was clearly never going to make it in the “Talkies”.

From the moment she jumped out of the cake it was clear Don’s love interest Kathy Selden, perfectly played by Sophie McClean, was the complete package. A triple threat actress: she could sing, she could dance, she could act – and, not only that, she was nice. Her sweet nature charmed Don and her talent guaranteed she would get ahead.

Simon Brown’s turn as Don’s best friend, musician Cosmo Brown, was a revelation. New to acting, Simon totally nailed it – bringing a quirky sense of fun, chutzpah, great comic timing and physicality to the role.

The four leads were ably supported by a large ensemble cast of actors and dancers, some of whom played a number of key roles and cameo characters.

Production managers David Chambers and Robyn Peers say it takes a huge team to put together such a spectacular production and Singin’ in the Rain presented particular technical challenges, all successfully overcome. And as it was his last major production for College, David and Robyn particularly want to thank and acknowledge the contribution of Musical Director Nicholas Sutcliffe.

Singin’ in the Rain was, without doubt, a smash hit success.

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