Tag Archives: Scarlett Strallen

REVIEW: John Wilson Orchestra Cole Porter in Hollywood – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Yes, dear readers it’s that time of year when I profess my undying love for John Wilson and his outstanding orchestra. Following on the heels of this summer’s Kiss Me Kate Prom (which incidentally will be broadcast this Christmas on BBC) and last year’s Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies, Wilson has turned his attention to the great Cole Porter on the 50th anniversary of the musical genius’ death.

Wilson has eschewed an evening of out and out familiar tunes, instead he has interspersed the big hitters like “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “Your the Top” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with lesser known numbers such as “Love of my Life”, “The Physician” and “Please Don’t Monkey with Broadway” and provides a broad representation of Porter.

The quality of the playing is of the highest order and the sheer joy on the faces of the musicians transmits itself to the capacity audience. The programme is beautifully enhanced by regular singers Matt Ford and Anna Jane Casey who take on the jazzier numbers and newcomers to the John Wilson Orchestra: Scarlett Strallen and Richard Morrison. Strallen and Morrison are particularly stunning in the more demanding numbers and Strallen shines in the rib-tickling “The Physician”.

It remains to be seen what’s next for the John Wilson Orchestra but I personally can’t wait to see what it is.

REVIEW: Singin’ in the Rain – Palace Theatre, London

This stage adaptation of Singin’ in the Rain, the classic 1952 movie musical  starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, about a silent movie company struggling  with the rise of talkies, first caused a buzz at the Chichester Festival  Theatre last summer. The musical score, including the famous title song, is  written by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. Choreography is by Andrew  Wright.

Any stage version could never eclipse the technicolour wonder of the original film, but this new production is crowd-pleasing stuff. Standing ovation inducing stuff in fact!

Renowned ballet dancer Adam Cooper plays the hero of the piece, Don Lockwood. I have always adored Cooper’s dancing and Andrew Wright’s inventive choreography brings out the best in Cooper’s sinuous frame, he is pure poetry in motion.

The title tune, where  Cooper’s sodden steps send rain splashing (deliberately) into the front rows is classic musical theatre at its best – just sheer joy and sheer elegance.

The rest of the cast are superb too, Katherine  Kingsley (above) has an appealing comic touch as the ill-fated silent film actress Lina Lamont, Don’s on-screen  romantic partner, whose career falters when microphones expose her ear-bleeding vocals.

Scarlett Strallen (above with Cooper and below centre) plays Don’s love interest, the aspiring starlet  Kathy Selden with a warmth and charm and

Daniel Crossley (below right) plays best buddy Cosmo Brown with great comic timing and physicality.

Michael Brandon, Sandra Dickinson and Peter Forbes provide able support as R.F. Simpson, Dora Bailey and Roscoe Dexter.

The Broadway Melody  number (below) is another highlight of the night, showing off not only Cooper’s virtuoso dancing skills, but the rest of the cast’s as well.

The staging is a dream and the show provides three hours of the most perfect Prozac pick-me-up escapism you could want. What I loved most was the fact that the whole thing looked absolutely effortless, there wasn’t a bead of sweat on any brow, despite being end to end high octane energy.

And the sheer delight on the faces of the cast as they soak the front rows in the encore is a hoot (below).

This is sheer class – a real triumph and the closest you will come to re-capturing that golden-era of Hollywood musicals today. A real triumph – go see it!