By Louw Mulder
It is one of those theatre productions that makes you leave the Teatro with a smile, and the tune of an old classic stuck in your head. With all departments and components of Musical Theatre coming together perfectly, I can summarise Pieter Toerien’s production of Singin’ in the Rain, as a delightful, feel-good Musical, as showcased by the cream of South African Talent.
I need to start this raving review with the Melodic Master-tunes from the live band. I am hesitant to call it an orchestra, because the true classical sounds of the Swinging Big Band Era was exactly that. The ten-piece band played under the musical direction of Louis Zurnamer, who also conducted the orchestra of Phantom of the Opera, a few years ago.
The variations and style of the arrangements were so complex, that this score is seen as one of the more difficult ones in Musical Theatre; so says Resident Director, Anton Luitingh. The score consists of various genres, and the changing of musical instruments in very short timeframes, adds to the challenging tasks of such a phenomenal band.
Luitingh told Stage and Screen that Johannesburg is seeing a well-polished production, after it travelled the world, and ran in Cape Town before opening at the Teatro. This was witnessed the night I was privileged to see the show. Grant Almirall, Bethany Dickson and Steven van Wyk, play the three lead roles, and the chemistry between the three of them, is contributing hugely to the success of their characters.
I have something good to say about each and every individual cast member; From Richard Gau as the policeman, Jarryd Nurden as the workman, Darren Greef as Clyde, Raquel Munn as Mary Margaret, this list can go on and on, but each member of this sexy and good looking cast, played their part in a company that totally gels together, and holistically contributes to the feel-good energy the show sets free.
Personally, the performance of the night, went to Taryn-Lee Hudson, who plays the role of big movie star Lina Lamont. The character, humour and personality of Lamont, is mainly captured in the script, but for me, no-one could have done a better job of acting the role of Lamont, as Hudson. Hudson’s performance was energetic, expressive, and emotional when it needed to be, and I would argue that the comedy element of Singin’ in the Rain would not have been half as effective as what it was, without the fleur and Je ne Sais Qua of Hudson.
The singing and acting were as professional as can be expected from a Pieter Toerien Production, but the dancing was extraordinary. Under the leadership of dance captain, Duane Alexander, who also gloats with a world class resume under his belt, the dancing of Singin’ in the Rain completes the wow-factor that moves the second half… and this does by no means exclude the dancing of Almirall and van Wyk throughout the show.
The lighting- and set design did not fall behind the high standards of the whole production, and much is still to be raved about the real rain, that brought that element of reality to the show. Almirall is giving a memorable performance of the title-song, while dancing and singing in the rain, which would probably be the defining moment of this show. Oh, before I forget, if you get your tickets in the first four rows, you might get a little wet…
Sitting in the audience, watching the show, you will realise the cast is as Fit as a Fiddle, as if you Stepped out of a Dream, with Beautiful Girls who Make ’em laugh, and even Moses Supposes that the Lucky Star was Meant for me, as no matter What’s Wrong with me, would make me start Singin’ in the Rain… Would you? A show totally deserving of a full-house standing ovation on opening night.
The rain will keep falling at the Teatro at Montecasino until the 13th of March, so don’t miss this feel-good Musical. Stage and Screen is also giving away tickets to Singin’ in the Rain, compliments of Pieter Toerien Productions… just click here, or visit our Competition Page.
Good Morning Good Morning, to you!