The Churchill Theatre on the 16th June 2015
Top Hat is a traditional show based on the 1935 Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger’s film of the same name about mistaken identity. Jerry Travers, played by Alan Burkitt, falls heads over heels for the beautiful Dale Tremont, played by Charlotte Gooch, despite Dale being convinced that he is already married, to her good friend Madge Hardwick’s (played by Rebecca Thornhill).
If I could sum this show up in one word that would simply be ‘Beautiful.’ It really is a stunning show with a feast for the eyes with everything from the set to the costumes but being a Fred & Ginger film the dancing must be discussed. The dancing was en pointe by all. Alan and Charlotte were mesmerising together and hit every mark perfectly and the ensemble didn’t disappoint – far from it. If you do not enjoy watching a dance show then this may not be the show for you but if you love or even remotely like your tap or ballroom then this will be right up your street. If you are unsure about dance based shows then I’d recommend taking a chance on this one!
Alan and Charlotte as the leading couple, were cast perfectly. It is often hard to find a triple threat where the cast are equally strong in all areas, Charlotte and Alan had this in spades with Charlotte having the extra string to her bow of being utterly stunning and therefore even more convincible as drop dead gorgeous Dale; how someone can look that good in jodhpur’s I will never know!!
The supporting cast were equally as strong. Rebecca Thornhill played Madge Harwick and although she didn’t appear until Act 2 she certainly made her mark when she appeared. John Conroy as Bates and Sebastien Torkia as Alberto Beddini played the comedy in the script well. All of the various cameos played by the ensemble were also delivered well and again helped draw out some funnier moments in the show. I have to say that the storyline to this show is not the strongest and it is very apparent from the outset how the plot will unfold and you are waiting throughout the show for the true identity to be revealed. That being said when watching Top Hat, I didn’t care!! I was so mesmerised by all the beauty on the stage that I was captivated anyway.
Talking of beauty on stage I have to mention the set again as it has to be one of the most impressive touring sets I have seen. Each scene was framed perfectly by the set and certainly helped accentuate the feeling of wealth and elegance that surrounds the characters in this show.
This was the first time I have seen this musical or even the film version of this. Despite this I found that I knew many of the songs including ‘Lets Face The Music & Dance,’ and ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz.’ Often in these types of shows the singing gets forgotten about in favour of the dance and the overall spectacle but that certainly wasn’t the case here and all of the cast delivered each number well.
Top Hat is on at the Churchill until Saturday 21st June. I would recommend you get yourself down there for a night for pure escapism.