In 1935 RKO Radio Pictures released what is now widely regarded the greatest Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance film of all time. Nearly 80 years later Top Hat the musical is heading out on a UK tour following its multiple Olivier award winning run in the heart of London’s West End.
Set in the dazzling 1930’s Top Hat tells the tale of Jerry Travers, a young Broadway superstar who attempts to dance his way into the heart of a young society girl called Dale Tremont in a cheeky and charming manner.
Hildegard Bechtlers set designs for this production are absolutely amazing and beautiful. Every inch of the stage is given prominence and purpose, including the wall clock with its working hands, and the extravagant designs work efficiently in regards to the changing of each scene. The ease in which sets and scenes are changed works to keep audience enraptured by the story unravelling before them.
Two pieces of scenery which are particularly noteworthy are the horse carriage and the airplane. Two simple props which use a small section of the stage, yet are completely brilliant and a particularly clever use of space.
The costumes, designed by Jon Morrell, like the set designs are stunningly detailed and a privilege to gaze upon as they flutter across the stage. The 1930’s style of clothing works brilliantly to transport audiences back to London 80 years ago.
From ball gowns to swimming costumes, each design can easily be described as elegant, sophisticated, glamorous and complete works of art.
The choreography is stunning and simply breath-taking as the preciseness and perfect synchronisation is mind blowing. It’s easy to see why this production won the Olivier Award for Best Choreography.
Two scenes which highlight this particularly are Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, and Let’s Face the Music and Dance. These scenes can only be described as flawless.
Alan Burkitt’s Travers is charming and entrancing. He easily makes audiences love him and his astounding stage presence. He’s a fantastic actor and an even better dancer. The onstage chemistry between him and Charlotte Gooch (Tremont) is a pleasure to watch as the pair make a perfectly attractive and believable couple.
Top Hat is a brilliant show built on wit, clever one-liners and good humour which had the audience on their feet in appreciation and joy. A thoroughly good evening which I would advise anyone to go and experience.
By Chloe Fry