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Typical of its genre, Irving Berlin’s 1935 RKO motion picture smash hit was as frothy as they come and director Matthew White and Howard Jacques’ stage adaptation proves as undemandingly light on plot as the original.

A handful of additional Berlin songs have been added to keep things moving swiftly along through countless smoothly achieved scene changes from a New York theatre to a swanky bridal suite in Venice via the art deco luxury of a London hotel.

Following in the footsteps of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers ain’t easy, and although there’s little chemistry between Summer Strallen’s high-kicking, honey-voiced Dale Tremont and former Strictly winner Tom Chambers’ Broadway star Jerry Travers (whom she mistakenly thinks is already married to an old friend) her glamorous elegance complements his nifty footwork – even if he does seem just as happy dancing with a hat stand!

The well-drilled chorus (almost too many of them for the limited space) tap with precise gusto, Vivien Parry’s cynical, wisecracking Madge has barely a good word to say about men in general (let alone the theatrical producer to whom she’s really married) and Stephen Boswell and Portuguese Ricardo Afonso go for broke as, respectively, an off the wall valet prone to gnomic utterings and a manic Italian designer stripped to his undies.

Aldwych, Aldwych WC2B 4DF | £20 - £65
Tube- Covent Garden/ Charing Cross
Till 26th January 2013 


Review: Top Hat at the Aldwych
Digital Mag

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