Singin' in the Rain Review, May 2018 - Newbury Today

To celebrate their 60th year BATS chose the ever popular Singin’ in the Rain, the story of the arrival of the talkies in Hollywood.  It was told with great wit and humour and provided a great framework for BATS to showcase their considerable talents in a production packed with a host of sparkling musical numbers and gorgeous costumes.

Make no mistake – this is a very difficult musical to stage, calling on the old style musical theatre skills and staging challenges.  BATS did not disappoint – and the cast danced and sang their socks off and the title number was performed on a wet set complete with rain and gushing drain pipes - incredible.

As the silent movie idol Don Lockwood, Bryn Hughes was splendid, with his winning smile and cheeky confidence and his sidekick Cosmo Brown was uber-energetically portrayed by newcomer William Keel-Stocker, in an impressive debut to the society.  Also making her BATS debut was the fabulously voiced Anneka Wass (Kathy Selden).  The three worked well together especially in their challenging routines and Kirsty Bennett as Lina Lamont absolutely nailed the character with her nails-on-blackboard voice and brought great humour to the role.

An excellent ensemble backed the principals and there were many truly memorable moments: Beautiful Girl, Good Mornin’, Singin’ in the Rain and Broadway Melody to name a few. The demands of the principal dancing meant some of the routines were not quite as slick as I would have expected – but still excellent and impressive.

The silent movie style projections were fantastic and director Ray Jeffery and musical director Trevor Defferd got the utmost from the cast, and choreographers Julie Morris and Karen McCloy created some sumptuous, sizzling and well rehearsed routines.  Costumes were amazing in their style (and number of changes) and the lighting and special effects (wind, rain, dry ice – you name it!) were terrific.  All in all this provided a great spectacle to delight the audience and good old fashioned entertainment.  

Trevor Dobson

Singin' in the Rain Review, May 2018 - NODA

Congratulations to Director, Ray Jeffery who drew polished performances from the hugely talented cast and first-class choreography from Julie Morris and Karen McCloy. BATS should be proud to add this production of Singin’ In The Rain to their list of successes. This was two and a half hours of all singing and dancing entertainment with the aid of a massively skilled cast and crew.

The Production: Bryn Hughes as Don Lockwood was hardly ever off the stage and sang and danced with great emotion and gusto. The duo's Fit as a Fiddle, Make ‘Em Laugh and Moses Supposes was hugely popular and were hilarious. There were many memorable performances, including the smooth singing of Beautiful Girl by Ian Moseley and Kathy’s (Anneka Wass) You are My Lucky Star was gorgeous and Lina’s What’s Wrong With Me was as out of tune as it should have been! Making his debut with BATS, William Keel-Stocker simply oozed charm and charisma as well as talent as Don’s sidekick Cosmo. This was a musical with heart and chemistry and so much to love; so many favourite moments for me, not least Good Mornin’ and Would You?

L to R: Don (Bryn Hughes), Kathy (Anneka Wass) and Cosmo (Will Keel-Stocker)

L to R: Don (Bryn Hughes), Kathy (Anneka Wass) and Cosmo (Will Keel-Stocker)

Ian Moseley performs "Beautiful Girls"

Ian Moseley performs "Beautiful Girls"

Kirsty Bennett as Lina Lamont, performing 'What's Wrong With me?"

Kirsty Bennett as Lina Lamont, performing 'What's Wrong With me?"

Costumes: The costumes were fantastic; colourful, vibrant and of the highest quality with numerous (and quick!) changes. There was great attention to detail ranging from Lena’s gowns, the massive headdresses of the ensemble, Don and Cosmo’s matching suits for Fit as a Fiddle as well as the black and white theme for the after party scene.

Sound: The music, under the direction of Trevor Defferd proved a great asset to the show and kept the lively music going. The voices blended well with the music. The sound team were kept busy handling effects needed for the arrival of the talkies and Lina’s inability to speak into her microphone! This was well executed.

Technical: The spectacular staging of the title song with fully working rain set deserves enormous praise as does the use of multi-media showing the black and white films ranging from the silent films to the transition to talkies. These provided joyful complement to the live action.

Chris Horton
NODA South East Region, District 14 Representative

Singin' in the Rain Review, May 2018 - Basingstoke Gazette

How wonderful that BATS will open the celebrations for their 60th year with such an effervescent zinger of a show! 

Don on lampost.jpg

They’ve been very wise with their choice of production as Singin’ In The Rain has it all – wit, warmth and wonderful songs – and the talented members of the society make the most of its every moment. Their production wholly captures the spirit of the original 1952 film about the move from silent films to talking pictures in 1920s Hollywood.

There is so much to appreciate: the skill displayed by the principals; the glorious dance numbers, including some irresistible tap sequences; the incredible 'wet set' complete with rain; the clever use of filmed inserts; the many laughs (which often come courtesy of the accomplished and industrious supporting cast); and the myriad costume changes.

Bryn Hughes boasts a megawatt smile and phenomenal footwork as he brings matinee idol Don Lockwood to life whilst a brilliant Kirsty Bennett channels Miss Piggy and Betty Boop as his unfortunately voiced co-star Lina Lamont. 

Anneka Wass (Kathy Selden) and William Keel-Stocker (Cosmo Brown) are making their BATS debuts and are both fantastic, utterly nailing their characters. There’s also lovely fizzy chemistry between the leading romantic pair, the key trio and best buddies Don and Cosmo, helping to fully ignite numbers such as the sublime Fit As A Fiddle and Good Mornin’.

A special mention must go to the ever-impressive Ian Moseley, who delivers both Beautiful Girl and a standout comic turn as the hapless Male Diction Coach in Moses Supposes

It must have been incredibly hard work for director Ray Jeffery, assistant director Nick Brannam, musical director Trevor Defferd and choreographers Julie Morris and Karen McCloy to put it all together, but it has absolutely been worth it. 

This winning show whets the appetite for what’s ahead in this landmark year (an Anvil concert on June 23 and Priscilla Queen of the Desert in November).

Congratulations BATS and thank you for your key contribution to the artistic life of the town. May the best be yet to come.

Joanne Mace

Bryn dons his tap shoes

Headshot of Bryn

Headshot of Bryn

Three pairs of tap shoes, a trilby hat, overcoat, a prop violin and an umbrella.  The contents of Bryn Hughes’s rehearsal bag reveal the paraphernalia required when you’re the all-singing, all-dancing leading man in one of the best-loved musicals of all time – Singin’ in the Rain.

“It’s the biggest role I’ve ever played, and the most challenging,” admits Bryn. “My character, Don Lockwood, is on stage nearly all the time, and when I’m not, I’m usually in the middle of a very quick costume change!”

Don is a Hollywood heartthrob from the 1920s, a star of the silent movies whose background as a song and dance man helps him make the transition to ‘talking pictures’.  But it’s more of a struggle for his squeaky-voiced co-star, the demanding diva Lina Lamont. 

“There’s a lot of comedy in the show,” says Bryn. “Lina’s determined her voice should be heard on screen, but Don knows it’ll be a disaster, so a secret plan is hatched...”

Bryn and the rest of the cast have been putting in the hours rehearsing the show’s spectacular musical numbers, including Good Mornin’, Broadway, Make ‘Em Laugh, Moses Supposes and All I Do Is Dream Of You.

They’ve also had great fun filming the movie sequences for the show in the grounds of Worting House, just outside Basingstoke.

But it’s the title number of the show – immortalised by Gene Kelly in the film version – that audiences will be intrigued to see. Will it really be raining on stage? And will Bryn be getting wet?

“Yes!” says Bryn. “As the song goes, ‘I’m dancin’ and singin’ in the rain’ and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!  It's a clever piece of set design - you’ll just have to wait and see how we achieve it!"

Singin’ in The Rain is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 9th-Saturday 19th May. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 12th & 19th.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50.  For the other performances: £23.50 (adults)  £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups.  All prices include a booking fee.  Buy tickets online.

Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

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