Friday, May 18, 2012

Singing in the Rain

The Marque After the Show
Duncan and I were on our own for lunch, down at the Hollywood Bowl. As we were coming home and waiting at the bus stop it began to rain.

Duncan lifted his hands to the heavens and said, “Are we going to sing, now?”

I felt that same way.

The melodies from Singing in the Rain, the new show on Tottenham Court Road were still ringing in my head, one day later.

The Marque by Day
To start at the beginning, Duncan and I have a theatre ritual now.

Pick up treats in a Tesco or confectionery outside of the theatre, add a drink to the mix, and then settle in for 2 or 3 hours of singing and dancing.

In the case of this show, there was a bag search going on at the door. Duncan was worried that the usher doing the checking might take our carefully purchased sweet treasures, but that fear didn’t materialize. Whatever the contraband they were looking for couldn’t be found in ours bags.

... walk down this street to find treats ...
We were in Seats H2 and H3. The clerk had carefully explained to us that our view would be slightly restricted. But we would be sitting by the posh people who had purchased the £62.50 seats right next to ours. Settling into our seats, and having opened our sweets bags, Duncan asked me what this show would be about. I told him that for once I had done no research. We were going to go in cold – just enjoying the experience. “I can’t believe you are doing that to me,” he said.

This instance of musical theatre is modelled on the Gene Kelly / Debbie Reynolds / Donald O’Connor film from 1952, that classic where a silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound. The question that I have to ask myself is why will people go to see on the stage, what they have seen so many times on TV – either the whole movie, or that charming clip where Gene Kelly is dancing and singing in the rain. The tunes from the show and some of the sequences are part of our cultural heritage.

... Box Office for Singing in the Rain ...
... 18 seats only ... 25 pound tickets
The theatre goers treated the evening with a certain reverence—a deep respect for the movie that they know so well, now coming to life on stage. The producers have caught it all – the gossamer shimmer of the hem of Kathy Seldon’s blue dress as it shifts through the air during some of her lifts, the tap-dancing feet of Cosmo Brown, the ennui of Hollywood star, Don Lockwood, the conniving soul-less Lina Lamont.

Duncan and I will not give you any more spoilers than this one. The people in the front six rows are given plastic rain gear to wear. In the classic scene where dancing is done to Singing in the Rain, water pours down onto the stage. Then the dancing feet of Don Lockwood scoots the water off the stage and into the audience, horizontal streams of it to the left and then right – small droplet of water hanging in the air before they fall – all of us gasping and laughing and waiting for the next stream of water to shoot in another direction.

Now that special effect is something that television can’t do.

 Duncan  & Don, Kathy and Cosmo ... Singing in the Rain
Would I recommend the show?

Yes.

And it wouldn’t take much of an invitation to have me join you.

One viewing of this show is not enough.

Thank you, Irving Berlin for such greats as “All I do is Dream of You”, “Make Em Laugh”, “You were Meant for Me”, “Good Morning”, “All I do is Dream of You”, “Moses”, and “You Are My Lucky Star”.

The classics.

Arta

3 comments:

  1. I want to go! I want to go! With Charise too, she loves this musical, as do I!

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  2. There was such a positive feeling in the audience. I don't think I imagined this, but for you know the 2 bar sequence that begins the famous dance routine? Da da da daaah, dah-dah / Da da da daaaaaah. I think everyone in the audience was humming after they heard the two note uptake, and then when the routine started? Silence from the audience and we watched all of the steps we know so well. Our restricted view was on stage left, so we didn't get to see Don Lockwood hanging from the lamp post -- but we saw everything else. Even that little sketch where the police comes strolling by -- exquisitely performed.

    Remember how the reprise in Billy Elliot has everyone come back on stage for "Everyone is different"? The cast comes back on for a similar finale -- Singing in the Rain and Billy Elliott are two shows where the curtain just can't come down and the play be over.

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  3. I do love this movie. I think the musical is supposed to be in Calgary soon. I can't remember.

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