Home   What's On   News   Article

Top Hat shines at the Churchill Theatre Bromley

Following in the dazzling footsteps of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers 1930’s classic movie Top Hat would be a daunting prospect for almost anyone.

But perhaps against the odds, the film successfully made the transition from screen to stage in 2011, and its star has continued to rise ever since.

The Olivier-award winning show’s call at the Churchill Theatre was met with rapturous applause from a clearly appreciative audience revelling in its nostalgic glamour.

While its lightweight plot based around a confusion of identity sparking a series of farcical scenarios for its leading pair may lack a little substance, there are so many likeable moments that carry it along in fine style.

This high-paced show sets its stall out early to impress from its glitzy opening number, Putting on the Ritz, displaying the cast’s slick tap-dancing talent.

Canterbury-born Alan Burkitt puts in a confident performance as in-demand stage star Jerry Travers, who attempts to win-over socialite Dale Tremont, whose aloof nature marks her out as a something of a challenge.

Charlotte Gooch plays the part with panache, living an extravagant lifestyle modelling clothes for flamboyant Italian designer Alberto Beddini.

The exchanges between its two stars as Miss Tremont’s initial indifference gradually thaws, provide some of the production’s most memorable scenes.

Its exquisitely detailed art deco sets also have their part to play in rendering a lavish rose-tinted vision of upmarket Belgravia during the pre-war 1930’s era.

We’re whisked from the marble-bedecked halls of a hotel and central London park, through to an even more stunning setting in Venice, with Tremont following her social circle to Italy to strut her stuff among the rich and famous.

The second act of Irving Berlin’s classic sees its supporting cast come more to the fore, with Clive Hayward as showbusiness impresario Horace Hardwick, who acts as mentor to Travers.
He is in turn flanked by his butler, Bates – who is played brilliantly by John Conroy, whose antics following Travers in disguise serve up a series of comic moments that ensure events proceed in breezy fashion.

It’s perhaps fitting that some of the largest cheers of the evening are reserved for him – emerging among the show’s real stars.

Another commendable performance is given by Rebecca Thornhill as Madge Hardwick, the far too accommodating wife of Horace, who realises she’s not about to stand for any more funny business from her roving husband.

To its credit, the show’s choreography is faultless, with a stunning sequence of routines capturing the spirit of the music with ease.

This is equally matched by the music itself, which is regarded as among Irving Berlin’s finest. Songs such as Isn’t This a Lovely Day (to be caught in the rain), Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, Cheek to Cheek and Let’s Face the Music and Dance all have a genuinely timeless quality.

While there’s a real sheen to the production there’s also plenty of crowd-pleasing slapstick, which comes in large doses from the over-the-top Beddini (Sebastien Torkia), who proves great entertainment.

With its fantastic songs, strong choreography and engaging cast, this award-winning show should not be missed as its long UK tour draws to a close.

- Top Hat is at the Churchill Theatre until Sunday, June 21. Contact 0844 871 7620. Visit www.atgtickets.com

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More