Silverscreen classics are the hottest thing in the West End


The West End has recently enjoyed a whole host of musicals and shows re-invoking “old-school” glamour from decades gone by.

Top Hat the musical was welcomed to The Aldwych Theatre, almost 80 years after Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire starred in the original film of the same name. Filled with Irving Berlin’s most iconic works, such as ‘Cheek to Cheek’, as well as ‘Top Hat, White Tie and Tails’ of course, and stunning 1930s costume, you can’t help but be transported back to the era of true glitz and glamour. This is really a world apart from the celebrity culture of today, where words such as “vajazzle” and “reem” have become unfortunate synonyms of “style”.
Instead, Top Hat has been critiqued as a “classy evening” by the likes of Charles Spencer at The Telegraph, describing the show as “vintage musical comedy”.
Similarly, the London saw another ‘vintage’ production in the West End in recent years – Crazy For You, featuring the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin. Revived at the Novello Theatre in 2011, the show is in fact an adaptation of The Gerwin’s early 1930 musical Girl Crazy. The 2011 production was so celebrated, it won Best Musical Revival and Best Costume Design at the 2012 Olivier Awards. 
And so, observing this recent trend, it’s not surprising to see Singin’ in the Rain the musical doing so well in London’s West End. The stage show stays true to its raison d’etre, the incredibly popular Gene Kelly film of 1952 – both in terms of its light-hearted humour as well as its sweet romanticism. 
Interestingly, Singin’ in the Rain enjoyed only moderate success when it was first released, with only a couple of ‘gongs’ picked up. It’s only in recent years though, that the film has come to be regarded as one of the best musicals of all time, reaching position five in the 2007 list of the Greatest American Films, as well as topping that of AFI’s 100 Years of Musicals. 
The iconic ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ song enjoyed a comeback in popularity amongst both young and old in 2008, where George Sampson performed his street dance style to the track for the audition and eventually also the final of that year’s series of Britain’s Got Talent. Sampson eventually won the contest, catapulting the electronic band Mint Royale’s version of the song to number 1 in the UK, from just download sales, a week later. BGT producer Simon Cowell was also inundated with fans requesting that the song be filmed into a music video – and this represented the first time his record label Syco signed up a non-singing act for the purpose of making the video. 
Last year, the French romantic comedy The Artist propelled the black-and-white genre back into the public’s consciousness, scooping five Oscars (of 10 nominations), three Golden Globes (of six nominations) and seven BAFTAs, amongst a whole host of other recognitions. 
The Artist
Scene from The Artist
Although the plot of The Artist shared multiple similarities with Singin’ in the Rain, perhaps it could be the next silverscreen-turned-stage-production to make it into the West End? Interesting to ponder though, could it maintain its silence for so much of the beginning of the show? I’m sure it could be done…