Saw it: 21 February 2015
Where: Opera House, Manchester
Cast: 5 stars
Show: 5 stars
Overall: 5 stars
Top Hat brings the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age and the glorious, tap-dancing magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to the stage in one of the greatest dance musicals of all time.
Packed full of Irving Berlin’s greatest hits including, Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Let’s Face the Music & Dance and Puttin’ on the Ritz, Top Hat tells the story of Broadway sensation Jerry Travers who dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont. An uplifting and hilarious romantic comedy celebrating 1930s song, style and romance, Top Hat dazzles with over 200 beautiful costumes, breathtaking dance and a love story that will set the pulse racing!
In March 2013 I received tickets for Top Hat in the West End for my birthday, the Saturday we went Gavin Lee’s understudy Alan Burkitt performed as Jerry Travers. As we left the theatre my companion & I (apart from grinning ear to ear) proclaimed that we would never see anyone else but Alan Burkitt play that part. So when the UK tour was announced with Alan Burkitt in the starring role I booked the tickets immediately because he is the perfect Jerry Travers.
I will return to Alan Burkitt soon enough. One performer can’t hold a show on his own, no matter how talented. The entire production of Top Hat is amazing. If you’re going to see the tour you are getting the set and costumes from the West End. The whole Company is packed full with wonderful performers; dancing, singing – all of it. I sometimes hear people say touring productions are second rate but you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s been a few days since I’ve seen it and my hands are still sore from all the clapping.
Top Hat is a show that I promise will have you smiling, laughing and leaving the theatre on a high.
Clive Hayward and Rebecca Thornhill as Horace and Madge Hardwick are splendid, I love their duet “Outside of that, I love you”. I pretty much adored every moment Rebecca Thornhill was on stage. Charlotte Gooch is truly lovely, I think she floats instead of dances. Bates is played by John Conroy who should have received a standing ovation all on his own. I also want to compliment Sebastien Torkia for his performance as Alberto Beddini, he really throws himself into that role. (It wasn’t until I read the program thoroughly that I realised why I recognised him. Mr Torkia played Francis in La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre, I found the signed program when I got home.)
As I’ve said the entire cast is outstanding. I’m also going to pick on a couple of people in the ensemble that stuck out; Paul Farrell, Matthew Caputo and Monique Young.
So Alan Burkitt… he is perfect in this role. The same way I watch Fred Astaire in the original film on repeat I would happily follow Top Hat on Tour around the country to see it every weekend for the happiness top-up. Sadly finances and logistics do not permit this. 😦
When I first saw Mr Burkitt in 2013 I thought he was ideal but now that the role is his there are little added extras and nuances that weren’t there before. Add those to the dancing, singing and the charm and you’ll be smitten to. (Trust me.)
Top Hat is dazzling and magical, you’ll find yourself forgetting that you’re sitting in a theatre before the first song has finished.
Top Hat is touring the UK until July 2015,
you can find out more details on their website by clicking the link HERE