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Theatre Review: Singin' in the Rain *****

Joy Watters reviews a 'must-see festive treat'.

The Pitlochry Christmas musical has become an unmissable date in the festive calendar. The brainchild of departing artistic director John Durnin, the shows have outstanding production values.

This year, Durnin takes his leave after 15 years and 100 shows at the helm of the theatre in the hills. His valedictory production of Singin’ in the Rain is second to none and a fitting tribute.

The well-loved film musical starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor now comes to the stage with the movies at the heart of the story as it focuses on the talkies seeing off the silents.

A wonderful nine-strong band under the baton of Dougie Flower sets the joyous mood as the overture strikes up with a banquet of acting, singing and dancing to follow, all washed down with oodles of rain.

Silent movie idol Don Lockwood and onscreen partner Lina Lamont are shown in silent and talkie mode, first with some beautifully observed silent black and white film clips then going live.

Big handsome Don (Grant Neal) falls for pretty ingénue Kathy Seldon (Mari McGinlay), much to the annoyance of Lina (Helen Mallon). Don and his pal Cosmo (George Rae) back the vocally-talented Kathy against Lina, a woman with a voice for silent movies. Mallon is literally a scream in the role.

The three leads, Neal, McGinlay and Rae, take the well-known routines and run with them. Rae’s Make `Em Laugh is a particular humdinger while Neal and McGinlay excel as the new lovers and double act, acting, singing and dancing flawlessly.

There isn’t a weakness anywhere in the 17-strong company in this must-see festive treat.

Runs until December 23.

Tags: theatre

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