Singin’ In The Rain at Ferneham Hall, Fareham

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The sixty-year old shadows of Kelly, O’Connor and Reynolds lay long across Singin’ in the Rain and any company that adds it to their body of work needs be either brave or foolhardy.

So – where do Fareham Musical Society fall on that scale?

The good news is that it’s much closer to the brave.

Ben James, Gareth Daniel and Hannah Edwins are a likeable trio of leads – with Daniel coming off best with his personable Cosmo Brown – although his delivery can sometimes lack dramatic tension and laugh-lines are lost. All three dance their socks off to great effect, though – especially in Good Morning - and James’ rendition of the scaled-down title number appeals.

Sue Rourke as the monstrous Lina Lamont does – of course – steal the show. That’s not just the nature of the part, but tribute to Rourke’s deft characterisation.

Opening night was tatty around the edges with problems that should have been solved at the technical rehearsal – some painfully-long scene shifting and some slow quick-changes (necessitating some obviously-improvised dialogue at one point).

Sadly, too, the direction is far from original, but this show has a big old pick-you-up-and-cuddle-you philosophy that warms the heart.

Until Saturday.