Following a very successful run at the Palace Theatre in London's West End, this Chichester Festival Theatre production (which had its first performance almost three years ago) has not lost any of its sparkle with the transition to a touring show. The fact that the phenomenal staging looks like it was built for the Festival Theatre is testament to Simon Higlett's fine design.
Scottish understudy Matthew Malthouse had his moment in the monsoon on Wednesday evening and brought a youthful exuberance to the role of matinee idol Don Lockwood. His dancing in the titular number was breathtaking and, as the curtain fell on Act One, his extended lines a credit to his Dance School Of Scotland training.
Lockwood's leading lady Kathy Selden was played by Amy Ellen Richardson, who brought some feisty elements to the role made famous by 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds. A pleasing distinction was that she also danced the Cyd Charisse section of the Broadway Ballet, enabling greater continuity to the sometimes paper-thin plot of the second act.
Steps' Faye Tozer was a highly commendable Lina Lamont, with very crisp timing (coupled with the added sense of irony from other characters taking credit for your stellar vocals). Maxwell Caulfield proved he could still make the crowds whoop as the studio boss, while his patting of bottoms and casting couch references definitely portrayed an "of its time" feel.
Perhaps one of the hardest comedic roles to pull off is Cosmo Brown, but Stephane Anelli aced it, with the able support of Andrew Wright's choreography (Fit As A Fiddle, Make 'Em Laugh, Moses Supposes and Good Morning were quite simply masterful).
Edinburgh run ends March 15; tours to Theatre Royal, Glasgow from August 12-23