Review: Singin’ in the Rain

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Technical difficulties can present a trial to even the most veteran and accomplished casts and crews. However, it is how a company responds to technical complications, that demonstrates their true resolve. In this instance, Bailey Theatre Company’s February 16 rendition of musical mainstay, Singin’ in the Rain, is able to deliver a brilliant performance despite the challenges posed by the unruly technical side.

While haunted by lapses in microphones and the occasional bursts of unwanted ruffling sounds, which does disrupt the smooth and orderly flow of this performance, on the whole Bailey Theatre Company provides a night of ebullient entertainment and resplendent music.

The music reverberates with feeling and sensitivity at each pivot in this performance

Directed by and Isabelle Evans, assisted by Linus Cheung, and produced by Catherine Wilcox, this performance is filled with fun.

is a charismatic and effervescent Don Lockwood, complemented wonderfully by the charming as Cosmo Brown. brings grace and flair to her role, while ’s rendition of Lina Lamont is exceptional. Portwood’s humour, combined with her shimmering American accent, is a real highlight.

Clearly, this cast care about delivering a quality performance

The music is exquisite. Presided over by the magisterial Jonjo Palmer, who provides presence and passion throughout, the musical quality never ceases to enchant. Rich, expansive musical numbers underscore each iconic scene. The music reverberates with feeling and sensitivity at each pivot in this performance, each symphonic cascade of mesmeric sound clear as fine crystal.

Clearly, this cast care about delivering a quality performance. Unbowed by flaking microphones for some of the key songs and dance numbers, they if anything are strengthened in their resolve by these difficulties. The space of Leech Hall at St John’s College is harnessed as well as the configurations of the room will allow, with some dynamic staging choices made, notably including projecting a cat walk in the centre of the room that places the actors at the heart of the audience. This immersive facet of this production is further enhanced by cast members moving among the audience to deliver lines.

A particularly novel aspect is the projection of pre-recorded short films interspersed amid the live action. While this concept had strong potential, like the flagging sound quality the projections sometimes somewhat lack rigour in artistic deliverance, with brief but noticeable pauses before the films begin hindering what could have been, if streamlined, ever more effective.

This performance is a powerful demonstration of perseverance under pressure. Determined, enthusiastic and talented, BTC certainly has a lot to be proud of.

Image Credit: via Bailey Theatre Company

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