Singin In The Rain at the Chichester Festival Theatre

Information overload for new theatre's debut

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Two health warnings should be issued to audiences at Chichester’s big summer musical.

First, those sitting near the front should take a sou’wester – because the actors have a truly, madly, deeply splashing time.

Second, men of a certain age should be sure not to forget their blood-pressure tablets. Why? Think leggy dancing girls.

The splashing time is in the title number, of course, and has an exuberance typifying Jonathan Church’s direction and Andrew Wright’s fizzing choreography.

If there is some heavy weather in the opening scenes, that is a problem with the musical and not the staging.

The lovers themselves are supremely played by Adam Cooper as movie star Don Lockwood and Scarlett Strallen as Kathy Selden.

Cooper shows the expertise of the former Royal Ballet dancer he is, but is also a tap-man to his toenails and a singer of quality. Strallen has broadened her expressive range since starring in The Music Man at Chichester.

Her seductiveness contrasts perfectly with the shrill brilliance of Katherine Kingsley as Lina Lamont, the leading lady who has to give way as silent films are overtaken by the talkies. The transition shows Church at his most wittily inventive.

In repertoire until September 10.