Sunday, 21 October 2012

Top Hat revised review

After now having seen Top Hat on Stage a fabulous 8 times and 2 more visits at least in the offing, unfortunately i booked for the 10th November for what i thought would be Summer Strallen's final perfomance and then heard from no less than the producer himself that she's agreed to extend until November 24th, whoever takes over the role of Dale is going to have to be very good, Summer is amazing!! I've written an alternative review to the one i wrote all the way back in April (seems such a long time ago haha!) Fred and Ginger still are and will always be the best ;) (although Tom Chamber's understudy Alan Burkitt is worth seeing as Jerry)

Being a massive fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers I’ll freely admit I was rather sceptical about whether I was going to enjoy seeing Top Hat on stage, I could say even if it’ll never quite live up to my beloved Fred and Ginger I have become rather fond of it, which makes a nice difference as generally I like either the stage show or the movie, rarely both!

Top Hat on Stage is a whirl of sophistication, fabulous dancing and a whole host of Irving Berlin songs, 5 from the original movie with a further 10 songs added to boost the production.

The choreography is sublime and while my favourite choreography from the movie did not make it into the stage version, what replaces it is a pleasure to watch.

Chambers is no Astaire, Fred after all was Peerless, but he does come a very close second! Whilst Strallen steps very nicely into the role of Dale, played by Ginger Rogers in the original 1935 movie, I noted with interest that aside from a couple of lines of ‘Isn’t it a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)’ and what is included in the finale, Strallen sings none of the songs from the original movie, whilst Dale in the movie sang ‘The Piccolino’ in the stage show this number is handled splendidly by the Ensemble (who incidentally are one of the best I have had the pleasure of seeing)  and Vivien Parry in the role of Madge.

Parts of the stage show that stood out for me were Chambers own choreographed dance with the Hat Stand ‘Hattie’ which is reminiscent of Astaire in ‘Royal Wedding’ (1951), ‘Wild about You’ sung by Strallen to Chambers in his room in an attempt to scare him, it backfires as he ends up scaring her! And the fabulous ‘Outside of That I Love You’ performed by Martin Ball as Horace and Parry.

Any scene with Stephen Boswell as ‘Horace’s’ Valet ‘Bates’ or Ricardo Alfonso as ‘Alberto’ is worth a mention as the providers of much of the show’s comedy

The essence and magic of the 1935 film is perfectly captured by all of the ensemble as well as the fabulous leads and a trip to the Aldwych to see Top Hat on Stage should definitely be a fixture on everyone’s calendar who’s ever loved a stage musical. This one is a pure winner and deserves to run and run.

I saw it with friends yesterday as well as Anneliese and i'm happy to say that they enjoyed it almost as much as i did!

Now i can happily say roll on Venice (and Verona) where we are visiting next week, we're staying by the Lido in a 1930s style hotel, very excited!!


  1. ...great to have a 'revised' review on this one... sometimes it takes a few 'viewings' for something to 'click'...
    I would really like to see this production... of course, the 'Backwards and in High Heels' show is finishing up its run not all that far from here, and is evidently heading over to California... so...really looks doubtful that I will make it - lotsa work and just...BUSY this time of year... hope you are doing well! How's the schoolwork? OR, are you finished? Sorry I can't keep up...

    KIG, Kat!!!

  2. Well its been extended twice over here in the last couple of months, now booking through to September next year, they'd be silly not to take it to Broadway if they can lol, i've met a fair few Americans on vacation who've made sure to come see it :)

    They were on Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday, thankfully they've put this one on youtube so it doesn't matter where you are to view it!

    School is still ongoing, just over 3 months to go though, and then suppose it'll be job hunting time, i did get an interview but i'm in Italy

    Hope all is good with you and the family despite the business!!