Top Hat – Aldwych Theatre, Wednesday 31 July 2013.
Top Hat. Fred ‘n’ Ginger. Songs ‘n’ dances. It’s THE classic film that is the epitome of Hollywood productions of the glamorous 1930’s .....Skip forward 75 years.
Top Hat. On a hot and humid July evening in Central London my friend Sue and I took our seats and waited for the heavy gold curtains to part to allow our escape from the hustle and bustle of overheated and irritable workers and tourists. I’ve wanted to see Top Hat for so long – another friend had seen it in Canterbury on tour in 2011 and raved about the wonderful show she had seen - now, almost 2 years later, would it be my turn to rave about it?
I know the story of Top Hat. Of course I do. I’m a big F&G fan, many a rainy Saturday afternoon has found me on a sofa with my Fred Astaire box set. And here it is, in front of me, life size and in glorious colour. I know every song, delight in every dance and salivate at the splendid gowns. There are some great quips from the starring cast – oh, how we love Bates. At the bar in the interval Sue and I discuss our biggest problem – how much our faces ache from grinning ear to ear. Truly, this is a delightful musical.
The story is the classic boy meets girl, girl confuses boy with girl's best friend's husband, a carriage ride, a jealous Italian dress designer, a flight to Venice, a duel in underwear, a lot of singing and a heck of a lot of superb dancing. And of course, dresses to die for. Throw in a steak, a gondolier and a horseshoe floral arrangement and – ta-dah, we have Top Hat. No musical should be without a horseshoe floral arrangement.
There are so many wonderful moments in this show. The inspired shadow dance with Him “upstairs” and Her “downstairs” which works brilliantly. Our beloved Bates (Stephen Boswell) in a frock. A wonderfully sharp Madge and duffer Horace Hardwick (Vivien Parry and Clive Hayward) with sublime throw-away lines. Our leads, Jerry Travers (Gavin Lee) and Dale Tremont (Kristen Beth Williams) who woo and war through the numerous set changes. An aeroplane ride like no other. The wonderful, wonderful dancers. And – bontà me - an unexpected nipple flash from Alex Gaumond as Alberto Beddini, giving a marvellous performance. And the dresses. The dresses. Oh my. We kneel in homage to the costume designer, Jon Morrell.
Sue and I left the theatre on a wistful high – and still grinning from ear to ear. We are looking forward to coming back (
yes, we’ve already got tickets to see Top Hat again) before the show closes on 26 October 2013. Sorry to see it go when I’ve only just found it ...
Ann and Sue's love of the show echoes alot of feedback we've been hearing about this brilliant revival. Don't miss your chance to catch this classic show in it's sparkling new incarnation!
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