Two Dons splash up a storm in Singin’ in the Rain


Rohan Browne and Grant Almirall. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Rohan Browne and Grant Almirall. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

AUSTRALIAN touring production Singin’ in the Rain is only too familiar with the adage ‘The show must go on’ after losing star Adam Garcia to injury during its Melbourne season.

Thankfully music theatre performers Rohan Browne and Grant Almirall both had experience playing Garcia’s leading role of Don Lockwood before, albeit in other productions, and with very little rehearsal time filled his dancing shoes.

Browne, from Melbourne, and Almirall, from Port Elizabeth, share the role, doing four performances each a week and said the split was out of necessity.

“We liken each show to a marathon,” Browne said.

“A marathon runner wouldn’t run a marathon every day, or do two a day, and we have eight shows a week.

“The only time you’re off stage is to change shoes or costume, take a sip of water and then you’re back on again.

“It’s better for us and the audience because we can give everything we have, every single show that we’re on for, because we have the recovery time.”

The pair, who are both in their mid 30s, joked they would like to have seen if star of the 1952 film Gene Kelly would succeed in the role if he had to do Singin’ in the Rain in one take.

“In the movie, they got so many chances to do the scene over and over again until they got it right, then afterwards take a break and move on,” Almirall said.

“We have to do it all in one go, in one evening; it’s one shot with the audience.”

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Working up a sweat means the famous Singin’ in the Rain routine which finishes the first act and features 6000 litres of water (2000 litres fall from above and 4000 litres flood from below) is a welcome moment.

“I remember the first time doing the scene in a rehearsal on stage,” Almirall said.

“They brought out the pianist and switched on the water and said ‘Go’. I remember thinking ‘What has my life come to?’ because I was standing on stage, it’s raining on me and I have to sing and dance in it.”

Browne, who was last in Perth performing with Hugh Jackman in his Broadway to Oz show, said he loved the rain.

“It’s great because you would never actually do that in real life,” Browne said.

“You would get annoyed being caught in the rain and on the way somewhere. And imagine what would happen if you splashed strangers in the street.

“You can’t hear much when you’re onstage when you sing the opening line because you have the umbrella over your head and it’s pounding with rain, so you don’t hear anything apart from the orchestra.

“We’ve both sat in the audience while the other is performing and you can feel the nostalgia.

“Sometimes the audiences clap or older couples look at each other. It’s so joyful in what it means to the audience.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Singin’ in the Rain

Where: Crown Theatre Perth

When: until January 22

Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com.au