Last night I took a step back in time to the glitz and glamour of the 1930’s and experienced the magical musical Top Hat, based on the classic film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. The authenticity of the musical’s music, by the ever so talented Irving Berlin, really created the nostalgia and ambiance of 1930’s Broadway. As the gold curtain lifted to a stage full of flawless tap dancers gliding across the stage, I knew it was going to be a sensational show.
The story begins with a man named Jerry Travers (Alan Burkitt) taking centre stage on Broadway in New York, he is then asked by the producer of the show Horace Hardwick (Clive Hayward) to travel to England and star in his new west end hit. On arrival in England he meets the stunning society girl Dale Tremont (Charlotte Gooch) whom he falls in love with. Their love story encounters many obstacles such as a mistaken identity, this chaos creates a lot of comedy in the show and the charming characters had the audience bursting with laughter.
I was highly impressed with the art deco style set that was constantly changing as the characters traveled from America to England and then even to Venice. For a touring production I found the set magnificent as it epitomised the sophisticated glamour of the 1930’s. This was also reflected in the costumes, as I was captivated by the long swishing dresses and the top hat and tails. I particularly adored the exquisite white dress worn by Dale Tremont in the finale of the show, she looked like a princess as she was elegantly gliding across the stage in the arms of Jerry Travers.
The timeless score by Berlin is evidently what makes the show marvelous. The classic old school musical theatre songs such as Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, Puttin’ on the Ritz, and Cheek to Cheek had everyone in the audience tapping their toes. The choreographer Bill Deamer skillfully choreographed the pristine dance routines that cannot be described as anything other than flawless. The dance throughout the show is mesmerising, the dancers make the spectacular routines look effortless as they glide and fly across the stage. From the extravagant tap numbers to the enchanting intimate ballroom duets, the choreography really does the score justice and the two go hand in hand to create a spine tingling, astonishing show.
Alan Burkitt played the lead role of Jerry Travers, not only was he an immaculate dancer, but his witty charm had the audience in fits of laughter. His chemistry on stage with the beautiful Charlotte Gooch playing Dale Tremont was highly believable and was highlighted in their romantic dance duets. However the actor that stole the show for me was the hilarious John Conroy playing the butler Bates, who goes undercover to spy on Dale. The best laughs come from his witty one liners and blunt persona, he was a real crowd favourite.
On opening night we were puttin’ on a ritz as the audience dressed up for the top hat and tiaras night. As they lay the red carpet down at the Hippodrome I felt like I had gone back in time, it was a lot of fun and overall a truly fantastic night. I took a few photos of who I thought were the best dressed.
Straight from the West End, Top Hat is utterly marvelous, so tie up your white tie and brush off your tails. Don’t miss Top Hat at the Hippodrome, on until the 21st of March. Ticket details can be found here.
Top Hat was available on the First Night offer, if you are aged 16-23 sign up for the First Night scheme for free to get the chance to see fantastic shows at the Hippodrome for a fiver! Click here for more info.