It’s rare when a touring production equals if not surpasses the West End production, but it’s impossible not to dance with delight at Singin in the Rain, which has just begun a UK tour. This production of the movie musical, which originated at the musical powerhouse of Chichester, directed by Jonathan Church, succeeds in retaining the iconic sequences of the original. Andrew Wright’s choreography keeps the dancers literally on their toes throughout the evening, and the whole show is injected with a freshness and vitality that make it exciting to watch anew.

The well told story is set in 1927 Hollywood, at the dawn of a new era when silent movies were about to be usurped for ever by talkies. In suave movie producer R F Simpson (Maxwell Caulfield)’s studio, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are silent movie stars – we see clips of their films as part of the action – who are about to be ‘heard’ on screen for the first time. Faye Tozer’s Lina is a dumb blonde with a screechy voice and no musical pitch, in a well observed portrayal that carefully treads the right side of a fine line between being amusing and annoying. Lina proves to be not so dumb in the end too. In a plot that almost mirrors the real life story of Marni Nixon – the dubbed voice in many classic musical films – the talented but undiscovered Kathy Selden becomes Lina’s ‘voice’, on film at least.

Intertwined with this film-making story is the tender love story of film star Don and ordinary girl Kathy. Amy Ellen Richardson’s Kathy is a sheer delight, and having recently made her mark in a supporting role in Merrily We Roll Along, a star is born here as Richardson sings and dances a storm in what was once referred to as ‘the Debbie Reynolds role’. James Leece makes his mark as Don too, with a sense of fun and real style, and giving his all in the exhausting but iconic dance sequence of the title number. Leece sings and dances in (gallons) of rain in a performance that Gene Kelly himself would have been proud of – the front row getting a friendly soaking in the process. Don’s mate Cosmo, a studio musician, is also integral to the plot, and Stephane Anelli shines in a well judged ‘Make ‘em laugh’ sequence. The ‘Good Morning’ number where Don, Cosmo and Kathy dance up a storm before collapsing over a bench, is a joyous explosion of song and dance.

At a show where dance is very much the heart and soul of the production, the hard working ensemble don’t put a foot out of place in a succession of fast paced and exciting to watch numbers. Singin in the Rain is a happy and uplifting show that will help you shake off the winter blues, and is yet another show of great quality from the Chichester stable. It’s an exhilarating snapshot of a by-gone era, with a freshness that brings the classic movie to life for a modern’s a singing and dancing delight.