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Singin' In The Rain as presented by Sligo Musical Society


Adjudication Performance, Wednesday 14th February.

“Happiness can shine through, even in the darkest of times”.

“Singing in the Rain” is set in the 1920’s and takes place in Hollywood. The story coincides with the changes involved in transitioning from “silent movies” to “talkies”. This enchanting musical is filled with many very memorable song and dance numbers and is Sligo Musical Society’s 23rd Production in the beautiful Hawks Well Theatre. What a buzz on the evening I attended which was the 2nd performance of the run, jam packed to the rafters with an electrifying chatter and laughter in the foyer from the patrons. This show was sold out completely. What a wonderful boost for the hardworking production team and indeed the full company. Chairperson Mr David McEvoy also Director single handily looked after me before, during and after the show with his time, his kindness and his effusive and lovely warm welcome, when he absolutely could have been elsewhere with his cast and full company, and it was so very much appreciated. I could have talked to you for hours more! I am so very grateful. Thank you.

Mr McEvoy’s Direction was slick, professional, and authentic. Mr McEvoy produced a show that had a sprinkle of everything to ensure success. The dancers, the props, the actual shower of rain on stage (which was a vision of brilliance), the sets, the magnificent cast, the orchestra, the costumes, sound, beautiful lighting and the chorus sounding splendiferous in every single number was something to behold. From the Overture which was the 1st notes of “Singing in the Rain”, the stage was alight with movement on the curtains of light, and spots and a marvellous sound from the orchestra from note one and throughout. When the curtains DID open the opening scene really did feel like I was watching the Oscars such was the glamour and bling, the silver and colour that lit up the stage.

The smallest of attention to detail can be so important, and can sometimes make the biggest impact, and I was immediately drawn to the wonderful microphone used in this opening scene. We were immediately taken back to the 1920’s. Simple yet so effective in drawing the audience into the era of this amazing show. There was a scene at the end of Act 1 before the Interval where the famous number “Singing in the Rain” is performed. During this number, water flowed from the ‘ sky’ in a beautiful rain shower, lots of it cascading down on to the stage floor. The water as it fell covered the width of the full stage, the lights caught it and it appeared to be dancing. It was MAGNIFICENT. The cast were very well drilled and really suited all their parts. Super and well done.

Choreography was the responsibility of Thomas Spratt and Melody Urquart. Ms Urquart was also Production Assistant. “Broadway Melody” with Cosmo, dancers brought the house down. What a number. “Make Em Laugh” with Cosmo and the ladies was moved and choreographed so very well - it was a picture. “Good Morning, Good Morning” with Cathy, Don, & Cosmo was brilliant. So very elegantly moved the trio musical number flowed magnificently and these three were perfectly in sync with one another in this fun, lively showstopper of a number. Super choreography here. Well done! The Finale of Act 2 after the bows was so good. I loved it.

Not a foot wrong and so much energy and perfection!. However, it was the magnificent, and beautiful “Singing in the Rain” with the ensemble and Don that for me was the highlight (one of many) for the evening for its choreography, performance and slickness. A stunning number. Mr Spratt and Ms Urquhart are a talented duo and I applaud you both and wish you all the best for your brightest of futures with your magnificent talent. Bravo.

The Musical Director and Vocal Director was Charles O’Connor. The Orchestra numbered 7 in total with Mr O’Connor on Piano, Austin McManus on Violin, Don Swain, Clarinet / Flute, Brendan Kennedy, Trombone, Paul Kiernan Trumpet, Eddie Lee Bass, and Alan “Mack” McEvoy on Percussion. This Orchestra produced a lovely warm tone throughout and enhanced the show wonderfully including Overture, Entr’acte Act 2 and continued to play as the audience left the Theatre. This was a lovely touch. This Orchestra were a good team. Specific mention to “Fit as a Fiddle”, “You are my Lucky Star” “Moses Supposes” the fabulous “Good Morning” the empathy in Lena’s ( Emily Tansey) solo “What’s Wrong With Me” “Broadway Melody” and the oh so memorable and beautifully played number the world over renowned and beautiful “Singing In the Rain” to mention but a few. Well done.

Stage Manager was Ms Lorna Davey. This show ran very smoothly. Given the amount of scene changes, projection scenes, movement of sets on stage and backstage this was always going to be tight with the backstage being very small, on both wing areas, and at back wall of theatre. Super set for “ Broadway Melody” along with “Make Em Laugh” with Cosmo, with the set being the Stage at the Monumental Pictures Studio. The film crew cameras were superbly made with great attention to detail even from where I was sitting. Mr Sid Phillips (Darren Kerr) was Sound Engineer (in Singing in the Rain as a character) and the sound room on stage was very authentic painted in a subtle but effective warm red was a great success as were the simple benches down stage for the “Audience” (cast members) to sit on to watch the “Duelling Cavalier”. Ms Davey as Stage Manager, throughout the performance and through many scene changes, your work was effective, clever, organised and simply done. I like simple. And it worked. Superb Stage Management here Ms Davey. Part of a great team. Congratulations.

Stage Set (Design and Construction) and Stage Set (Projections) were the responsibility of Mr Wayne Handy and Projections by Broadway Media / James McManus. The sets were solid, moveable, colourful and appropriate to the era. The projections were consistently a highlight of the show throughout. They were all stunning, fitted beautifully and enhanced the production so much.

Lighting Design was by Barry McKinney. I have already mentioned Mr McKinney’s artistry throughout this show and indeed you must have been a very busy man for the duration with lighting being a huge key to this shows success. Scenes such as “In My Imagination” with Kathy’s solo and Cosmo playing the piano was beautifully lit. Specific mention indeed to the Lighting in Broadway Melody. The stage was lit in a myriad of colour, reds, greens, whites, blues, spots, it was an absolute vision of light. I particularly loved your work in this number Mr McKinney and indeed throughout the show. It was beautiful. And I commend you greatly on your talent and how your lighting enhanced this performance so much and in so many areas. Beautiful.

Sound and Sound Engineer was Mr Stephen Clancy, assisted by Ruairi Hanley. The sound was very good overall. I loved the “huge applause” effect throughout the show, I adored the thumping of Lena’s heartbeat when they put the microphone on her dress lapel, the sound when they draped it around the plant, and she kept turning her head in dismay and bang – the sound would be gone again. Sound for the ensemble numbers was particularly good, and indeed all the main characters in the front line.

Costume Hire was from Nomac Costumes Waterford. With Wardrobe Co-Ordination the responsibility of Melanie Urquhart, Mavis Stanley, Pam Lindey, and the cast. Costumes were stunning with mention to the gorgeous red and sparkly ballgown of Lena Lamont in Act 2. A vision! But also, specific mention to the costumes for Sid Phillips who played the part of the Sound Engineer. Everything under the whole umbrella (pardon the pun!) of Costumes was a success and a visual treat and totally and utterly enhanced this show. Just so lovely. Well done. I must also mention that photography and filming was by Rory Maitland of Temperhound Productions. A fantastic job so very well done.

The part of Don Lockwood was played by Matthew Whitehead. This young gentleman is a truly magnificent dancer with talent oozing from him in every single dance routine he performed on stage such as his showstopper “Singing in the Rain”. A lovely stage appearance and great interaction and stage chemistry at all times between himself, Cosmo and Kathy. Mr Whitehead was a very good leading man with a light lyrical voice that suited the part, and his portrayal of this character was very good. A solid performance with wonderful dance talent and technique and a lovely leading man. Well done. You did a super job.

Cosmo Brown was played by Callum Blakeley. What an actor. Fantastic stage presence lovely fluidity to his moves, lovely chemistry between himself and Don Lockwood and boy this gentleman could move around the stage with aplomb and grace. Excellent acting by Mr Blakely, throughout. Particularly liked the scene with Mr Blakeley playing piano, and most entertaining in the fabulous “Broadway Melody”. Mr Blakeley created a truly lovely character in Cosmo. Great costumes, beautiful dance moves, vocals and acting and overall a really very good performance with excellent acting skills and all round multitasker with enormous talent. Well Done Mr Blakeley. You were a joy in this role. Congratulations.

Lena Lamont was played by the gorgeous and oh so funny Emily Tansey. I adored this young lady in this role. Fabulous costumes ( loved that red dress and indeed the magnificent green one also!) and the wig but most especially I loved your character Ms Tansey. You were simply an awesome Lena Lamont. That high pitched squealing voice of yours I can still hear ringing in my ears in Wexford!!! Your comedic timing was simply brilliant and I loved watching you in this role and indeed looked forward to every time you came on stage. Your acting in the projections was utterly fabulous. You were indeed born to play the role of Lena Lamont – truly and I loved your performance Ms Tansey, from beginning to end. Made for you. Well done, it was a joy to watch you throughout the show. I hope you enjoyed playing this role as we your audience enjoyed your performance. Thank you and Bravo!

Young Don was played by Brendan O’Connor, and Young Cosmo was played by Ronan O’Connor. What a duo. Boys you were absolutely brilliant and your presence on stage at the beginning of the show set a huge precedence of what was to come for the rest of it. You were both so very good. I hope you do many more shows together as you get older you most certainly have the talent in bucketloads. So very well done boys. Congratulations.

Kathy Selden was played by Jaidyn Geini ( beautiful name). What a strong solid melodic performance by Ms Geini, magnificent vocal, gorgeous dancing (especially in “Good Morning”) you were the link that brought everyone together in this show and you played the part so beautifully. You have such a strong singing voice, lyrical, beautiful tone, tender, and emotional and you sang from your heart. A truly lovely performance. Bravo.

Sid Phillips/ Sound Engineer was played by Darren Kerr. Firstly – BRAVO on that magnificent solo dance routine centre stage where you pirouetted beautifully on tippy toes like a professional. I loved the pedal pushers, socks, v necked sleeveless jumper, and then your appearance in the black and white movie was class! This was a very solid performance in every area Mr Kerr and you really did this role credit. Well done.

RF Simpson was played by Gerry Ryan. You oozed talent, stage presence, excellent movement around the stage, a lovely fun element in your manner with great facial expression and some very funny moments throughout. You had a lovely stage presence, and your rapport and connection in all your scenes with the rest of the cast was so professional. This was a great role played wonderfully Mr Ryan showing your vast experience in theatre land over many performances I have no doubt. You said in your bio that you were loving being a part of Singing in the Rain. Well I loved you in it!. Bravo.

Roscoe Dexter was played by Danny Leonard. Lovely part well played by Mr Leonard. A bit stressed and dramatic extremely good speaking voice and moved very well around the stage especially in interactions with R.F Simpson. Mr Leonard was very strong in this role suitably cast , quite highly strung and had some great comedy moments. Mr Dexter worked very well in conjunction with the rest of the cast especially with R.F.Simpson.

Zelda Zanders was played by Aoife Walsh. Introduced at the very beginning of the show brought the first laugh of the evening when it was announced as she walked along the catwalk it was her ninth marriage!!! Very glamorous good friend to Ms Lena Lamonte very striking stage appearance and gorgeous costumes (and head piece ) and moved beautifully and gracefully around the stage. The friendship she had with Lena was so lovely and I liked when these two were on stage together. Lovely stage presence and dramatic appearance beautifully played.

Dora Bailey was played by Valerie Hamilton. Ms Bailey was a vision as a radio host with her crisp clear voice, concise and slick with her introductions, with great hair makeup knows everything about the stars and the gossip.

Rod the male vocal coach was played by Aidan Coutts. Enthusiastic in this role, he helps the performers reach their potential with good humour and this role was played very well by Mr Coutts.

1st Assistant Director, played by Lenhard Zaprasis, 2nd Assistant Director played by Trevor Gorman who also played the Policeman and 3rd Assistant Director played by Benjamin Mead looked acted and played their parts very well. Small roles yet important roles to play in the overall story of moving silent movies to talking movies. Also Mr Trevor Gorman played the part of the policeman with great lightness and fun as he carted to Young Cosmo and Young Dan off stage at the beginning of the show after their dance number, which brought us the first laugh of the evening from the audience. All very well played.

Ms Dinsmore was played by Emer Henderson. What a lovely cameo role. Just the right amount of encouragement for Lena and then exasperation which was beautifully played. This was a really lovely part that was suited Ms Henderson beautifully offering direction and guidance to the players in the production company, played so very well by Ms Henderson who had indeed a lovely way and stage presence. Lovely part beautifully played Ms Henderson. Well done.

Ian Howard played the part of the Production Tenor. What a gorgeous deep sounding voice light yet lyrical and sang this number beautifully and with lovely tone in what was one of the highlights of the show for me. A gorgeous visually aesthetic scene, enhanced by your lovely tone and melodic voice. The costumes here of the Beautiful Girls were magnificent. A vision. Well done all.

Other parts I must mention were Nora McLoughlin Hairdresser and Burlesque Dancer, Kevin Sheridan the Butler, and Candy Girls Dancers. So very well done to each of you. Every single person on or off stage is a vital cog in the wheel of success for any production and all in your in your way with your own parts and responsibilities made this show work and work very well. A credit to each of you and bravo.

The Chorus were simply gorgeous. Such a beautiful sound emanated throughout the Theatre for the duration of the show for each number with the sound resonating off the walls with its strength, melody and beauty. A well-rehearsed Chorus and indeed I would imagine many months of preparation going into what you created on stage on the evening. “Broadway Melody” I must mention (again!) because it simply was a highlight, “Singing in the Rain”, “You stepped out of a Dream” was magic to name but a few of your many numbers. Each one as good as the next. Very well done Chorus.

And finally, congratulations and thank you for a wonderful evening in the company of a wonderful ensemble . I did not want to leave such was the awesomeness of your welcome and your production and thank you all for the time given to me after the show to meet each and every one of you. It was a pleasure. Follow your dreams. I wish you well always.

Caroline Daly Jones

Adjudicator Sullivan 2023 / 2024

Please enjoy some photos below kindly shared by the society.

Photographer was Donal Hackett


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