The Mill at Sonning delivers an amazing Christmas present for its patrons with a sensational new production of the musical Singin’ in the Rain.

It’s the fourth festive season in a row that director Joseph Pitcher has taken charge of this lovely little theatre to offer what might be called ‘boutique versions’ of stage classics. Previously we’ve had Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady and High Society.

This year’s offering is fully a match for these, with scintillating performances in the main roles, pared-down choreography (Ashley Nottingham) to suit the venue’s intimate stage, qand inspired orchestration (Charlie Ingles) for a five-strong band led from the keyboard by musical director Francis Goodhand.

The abundantly talented Philip Bertioli steps into the tap-dancing shoes of Gene Kelly and Tommy Steele – from Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s much-loved 1952 film and the 1983 stage spin-off – to show us the appealing character of Don Lockwood.

He’s the heartthrob Hollywood silent movie star aiming to make it into the new-fangled ‘talkies with long-term romantic partner – only on-screen though she would wish it otherwise – Lina Lamont.

The trouble is she has a quite ridiculous piping voice and a dreadful accent, caught in great comic style by Sammy Kelly. Oh, and she can’t sing either.

Happily, aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Rebecca Jayne-Davies) is able to lend behind-the-scenes assistance, as well as satisfying – after initial hiccups – Don’s amorous ambitions.

There is a joyful exuberance throughout in delivery of the songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. I particularly relished Fit as a Fiddle, with Don harking back to his song-and-dance days with partner Cosmo Brown (Brendan Cull), Kathy and Don’s You Are My Lucky Star, and a full-on delivery of the title song.

The production really splashes out on this, with an amazing deluge of water drenching the hapless star. Folk in the front row would be in for a soaking, too, but for the waterproof blankets they’re equipped with.

The show, preceded by a fine Christmas dinner, is on till February 8.