The show begins a UK tour in Wimbledon from August 12.
If you’re looking for a nostalgic night out – and who isn’t in these bleak modern times? – you can’t do much better than ‘Top Hat’. Dripping with class and full of old-school humour, this sassy stage version of the Astaire-Rogers 1935 musical provides a reassuringly enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The farcical plot is merely a coathanger for a multitude of Irving Berlin hits to hang off – but you don't hear many people in this theatre complaining.
Stage star Jerry Travers meets and falls for beautiful model Dale Tremont, but due to a case of mistaken identity she shuns his advances. A gondola ride and many mishaps later and they're dancing ‘Cheek to Cheek’.
Matthew White’s witty production is given renewed energy by a new cast that’s probably classier than the original one. Broadway veteran Kristen Beth Williams is captivating as Dale, as comfortable cheekily taking control in the hip-wiggling ‘Wild About You’ as she is being elegantly spun around in feathers. She and understudy Alan Burkitt (very capably standing in for Gavin Lee as Jerry) glide around the stage effortlessly and spark off each other very prettily.
As Latin lover Alberto Beddini, Alex Gaumond handles the issue of this dated racial stereotype with his tongue firmly in his cheek. Gaumond relishes every pompous affectation and is marvellously silly, while for a rather more English send up, Stephen Boswell does a superb line in sardonic one-liners as long suffering manservant Bates.