INTERVIEW: Tim Flavin on Singin' In The Rain

After one particular show in London, Tim Flavin received a letter from a fan who said 'You made me dance all the way back to my car'.

For Tim, that sums up precisely what it's all about.

"You want to touch people in that way," says Tim '“ who is doing exactly that in the brand-new production of Singin' In The Rain which plays at The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from September 22-26 (tickets on 02380 711811).

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Tim plays Don Lockwood, the part immortalised by Gene Kelly in the legendary film version '“ big shoes to step into but a genuine pleasure, too.

Singin' in the Rain exudes the style and spectacle of the MGM golden age, offers some of the best-loved comedy routines and throws in songs including Make 'em Laugh, Moses Supposes, You Were Meant For Me and probably the most famous song and dance number ever, the title track Singin' in the Rain.

The key to success '“ just as it was with Tim's version of The Wizard Of Oz at Brighton's Theatre Royal last Christmas '“ is to respect the original, Tim says.

"When it comes to realising stage productions of these classic films,

I am an ardent loyalist.

"It is my natural inclination to be as faithful to those great iconic works as you can possibly be, whatever the film is.

"And then you have also got the emotional line.

"For Singin' In The Rain, it's set in the late 20s and is about the transition from silent films to talkies.

"But the story is essentially about a man who falls in love.

And you have that wonderful sense of joy that is the pinnacle

of that '“ Gene Kelly hanging off the lamppost, singing in the rain. This is a man in love!"

Inevitably it's impossible not to think of the Morecambe and Wise pastiche if you're in this country '“ a piece of fun almost as famous as the original scene.

But as Tim points out, it's lovingly done and is essentially a tribute.

In recreating it (the Kelly version, that is), Tim doesn't have the advantages of movie-making, the different angles and the chance to redo it if necessary.

Plus the fact Kelly wouldn't have been wearing tap shoes in the wet.

The tap sounds were dubbed on later.

Kelly wouldn't have had to sing it live. Again, that was added later.

"But's not to take anything away from a wonderful accomplishment. Gene Kelly was an innovator.

"He was the creator of a style of dance and tap movie musical in the same way Fred Astaire was a couple of decades earlier.

"They were originals that created something that has stood the test

of time and that will live on and live on. Sometimes you wonder if these guys realised what influence they had..."

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