What an absolute smasher of a show. Curious Grin keep up the energy throughout, whipping you up in the whirlwind romance of both the 'talkies' and the two lovebirds at the centre of the story.
For those of you not in the know Signin' in the Rain, the musical, was inspired by the 1952 hit film of the same name starring Gene Kelly (we've all seen the lamppost scene.) The story itself is set in 1927 Hollywood, as the stars of the silent movie era face the prospect of 'talkies' taking over. With comedy, romance and plenty of razzle-dazzle, it's the perfect recipe for a full on, toe-tapping musical.
Coming back to Curious Grin's production, it's incredible to think everything is done by students who are also studying full-time; it's far from amateur. The set is simple, but not sparse, with beautiful deco motifs that really make you feel like you're in 20s Hollywood. The costumes too, while sometimes more homemade homage than vintage chic, still give the right effect and don't spoil the illusion of the era.
The entire cast are wonderful. A couple of the ensemble numbers are a little shaky vocally, but it's more than made up for in enthusiasm and ragtime dance steps. And each cameo is carried off with great wit. Similarly with the band, there were some moments where they lost their big-band sheen, but they were few and far between.
At the heart of the show, James Hyde and Kathy Peacock play the central love story between Don and Kathy. Both are really solid performances and it's hard to take your eyes off Kathy, who has an undeniable, poised stage presence, somewhat reminiscent of Scarlett Johansson.
Annabel Reed and Niall Docherty as Lina and Cosmo, though, really steal the show – as evidenced by the roaring cheer they both received from the rapturous audience. Reed's ability to maintain a squeaking, screeching New Jersey accent while delivering a charismatic solo performance of 'What's Wrong With Me' is incredibly accomplished and she brings brilliant humour to the show. Docherty is also a source of laughs but plays a much more endearing, cheeky character, whose athletic antics really take you back to 20s caricature acting and transport you right into RF Simpson's studio.
If you love a little tap dancing and some neatly choreographed umbrella work, not to mention a few clever surprises, then undoubtedly this is the show for you.