TOP HAT: Music and Lyrics, Irving Berlin
Runs: 2h 50m, one interval
Birmingham Hippodrome till 21 March and on tour
Tour information – to 2016; www.tophatonstage.com
Review: Alexander Ray Edser
Birmingham Hippodrome, 18 03 15
One of the most gorgeous shows I’ve seen in ages
TOP HAT is out on tour. It is a stunning and loving recreation of the much-loved film. It is not an impression of the film, but a beautiful live musical in its own right.
Although we may speak about the elements (more of them later) it is the whole that works so well. The period styles and elegance carefully reproduced in the settings and costumes, the music perfectly plays, even the English accents accurately portrayed to a ‘t’ – and an aspirate ‘wh’. And the dancing is an ever-present delight (choreography, Bill Deamer.) If this is all not perfection, I’d like someone to show me what is.
Watching the show live, more so than perhaps when watching the film, you are struck by the apparent ease with which Irving Berlin produced hit after hit; the show itself moving in giant waves to each really big number. It starts huge of course, PUTTING ON THE RITZ, and leads towards, EGGS IN ONE BASKET, TOP HAT, DANCING CHEEK TO CHEEK and LETS FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE.
Alan Burritt (Travers) and Charlotte Gooch (Tremont) sing and dance divinely. It is so important that they make the roles their own, and they achieve this magnificently and with style. Clive Hayward (Horace) and Rebecca Thornhill (Madge) capture the other couple with great skill and humour. Sebastien Torkia ensures his presence counts as the Italian dress designer and John Conroy is the perfect chameleon-esque butler.
It’s all complete escapism, but my goodness me, don’t you feel better for seeing it.
Jerry Travers: Alan Burkitt
Dale Tremont: Charlotte Gooch
Horace Hardwick: Clive Hayward
Madge Hardwick: Rebecca Thornhill
Alberto Beddini: Sebastien Torkia
Bates: John Conron
Florist’s Assistant / Ensemble: Lucy Ashenden
Ensemble / Swing: Thomas Audibertf
Ensemble / Swing: Caroline Bates
Hotel Guest / Lido Guest: Sophie Camble
Bell Boy / Ensemble: Matthew Caputo
Broadway Chorine / Lido Guest: Kristy Cullen
Hotel Guest / Lido Guest / Swing: Paul Farrell
Concierge / Italian Policeman: Ian Goss
Hotel Maid / Speciality Dancer: Rebecca Hodge.
Hotel Doorman / Lido Guest: Samuel Humphreys
Hotel Guest / Lido Guest: Thomas Inge
Shadow Jerry / Speciality Dancer: Thomas-Lee Kidd
Hotel Managers / George: David McKechnie
Maurice / Florist: John McManus
Hotel Maid / Lido Guest: Sarah-Marie Maxwell
Bell Boy/ Ensemble: George Olney
Assistant Hotel Manager: Ben Palmer
Ensemble / Swing: Holly Rostron
Hotel Guest / Lido Guest : Maria Ward
Broadway Chorine / Lido Guest: Amy West
Soubrette / Ensemble: Monique Young
Director: Matthew White
Choreographer: Bill Deamer
Set Designer: Hildegard Bechtler
Costume Designer: Jon Morrell
Lighting Designer: Peter Mumford
Sound Designer: Gareth Owen