Top Hat by DAODS
Top Hat at the Orchard Theatre
The musical Top Hat is based on the 1935 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film. It tells the story of Jerry Travers, a star on Broadway that comes to London to perform in a West End show. During his stay at a hotel his late night tap dancing disturbs the guest below him, Dale Tremont, who confronts him about this. Jerry immediately falls in love and peruses Dale. The show then takes many twists and turns and cases of mistaken identity, until love wins out!
This is the first performance I have seen by DAODS and I couldn’t help but think what a challenging show for an amateur group to take on. Especially considering the high level and expectancy of the tap dancing alone that this show requires. Not only from the Leads but the Ensemble as well!
Now as somebody that has participated in Amateur Dramatics myself, I understood fully that as it was opening night there was to be a few hiccups along the way and naturally there were a few set malfunctions and sound problems. This however did not take away from the clear vision the director Alexander Tyrrell had for this show. The Orchard is a large space to fill and DAODS went full out with Sets and Costumes to fill this space well! The whole look fit the era of the piece perfectly!
Paul Farlie took on the leading man role of Jerry Travers and took to the role well. He really made the connection toward his leading lady real and you felt yourself routing for his character which is the sign of a good actor! Dale Tremont was played by Faith Rogers. This being Faiths first show with DAODS she showed a strong dance ability and carried herself with grace as the character required.
Other main roles in this show included John Woodley as Horace Hardwick and Luke Walden as Alberto Beddini, both had a clearly natural flare for comedy and had the audience laughing throughout! A nod also to Luke Walden for keeping his Italian accent clear and consistent throughout the show, allowing the audience to understand the plot and his comedic moments with ease.
There were also some clear stand out performances in the ensemble! Jade Oswald and Mark Fromings both had brilliant voices and you couldn’t help but wonder why they hadn’t been used more with the brief but flawless vocals they provided in their small cameos! Ethan Oswald also stood out for his comedic cameo as George, with only a brief moment he made the whole audience giggle!
The choreography by Amy Farlie was very ambitious and in some numbers was nicely effective. There was a few moments however where the stage seemed overcrowded and the strong dancers were lost among the other ensemble members. There were some strong dancers but unfortunately as the program only lists names for ensemble I cannot pick them out by name.
Top Hat is definitely a crowd pleaser and the audience all seemed enamored by DAODS production making it a successful show. I am sure with every performance the cast will iron out the kinks and grow more and more making it another hit! I wish lots of luck to DAODS on the rest of their run!
Review by Sarah-Leanne Howe
To find out more about DAODS visit their website.