Music &Lyrics: Irving Berlin
Adaptors: Matthew White &Howard Jacques
Choreographer: Bill Deamer
Director: Matthew White
Reviewer: Marina Spark
The 1935 movieTop Hat, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, is an iconic Hollywood classic. The musical, which was adapted for the stage five years ago, has received accolade after accolade. The 2014/15 tour is no different. As soon as the overture begins toes start tapping.
The timeless Art Deco style staging, designed by Hildegard Bechtler, makes a sophisticated, elegant setting for the musical to take place. The audience are transported from New York to London to Venice seamlessly by the clever staging. The sleek, sheer and shining costumes, designed by Jon Morrell, add bucket loads of glitz and glamour to the production.
The story is a funny, sweet tale about mistaken identity. Jerry Travers, the famous American headliner, accidentally wakes up the gorgeous Dale Tremont, by dancing rather loudly above her hotel room. Alan Burkitt, as Jerry Travers, takes on the iconic movie rôle which was originally played by Fred Astaire. As would be expected, his foot work is impeccable. Burkitt oozes style and charisma and more than makes his mark on the rôle; he is unforgettable. Originally played by Ginger Rogers, Dale Tremont is taken on by the vivacious Charlotte Gooch. Pitch perfect and full of elegance, Gooch is mesmerising as Dale. The chemistry between Burkitt and Gooch is scintillating to watch. They draw the audience into their relationship and don’t let go.
John Conroy plays Bates the butler. His quirky characterisation is memorable and highly amusing. Clive Hayward plays the hapless Horace Hardwick, Bates’ master. The pair have some of the most comedic moments and their relationship is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the show.
Sebastien Torkia plays the larger than life dress designer, Alberto Beddini. His excellent sense of comic timing, extravagant physicality and exuberant presence make for highly amusing entertainment.
This production is magnificent. Irving Berlin’s music has been at the heart of American musicals for almost a century and by all rights it will be around for many years to come. For a fun loving, entertaining story of love and mistaken identity, mixed together with some excellent music and choreography, take a look atTop Hat. Irving Berlin’s songs lift the spirit, Bill Deamer’s choreography inspires the feet, and Matthew White and Howard Jacques’ light comedy tickles the sides. Definitely catchTop Hatat the Theatre Royal Plymouth for a glamorous, sophisticated evening out.
Runs until9th May 2015 as part of a national tour.