June's In Heaven

Stage and Screen presenter June Wood was In Heaven when she went to see Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre in the West End last weekend.

Keep reading for her review of the production.

June Wood after watching Top Hat

Top Hat was a fabulous show!

I have always loved the music from watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the 1935 RKO musical on the television when I was a little girl. It was an old film then but the music transcends the ages.

Tom Chambers (winner of series six of Strictly Come Dancing) and Summer Strallen (Hollyoaks) star in this version, and were absolutely brilliant.

The plot centres on American dancer Jerry Travers (played in the original motion picture by Fred Astaire and on stage by Chambers), who is working for bumbling producer Horace Hardwick in London.

Jerry's practicing of his new dance routine late one night in Horace's hotel wakes the sleeping Dale Tremont (Rogers on screen, Strallen on stage). When she goes upstairs to complain, the two are immediately attracted to each other, but complications arise when Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace, who is married to her friend.

The musical, which director Matthew White and choreographer Bill Deamer have brought to the stage 76 years after its original cinema release, includes numbers from the film such as Cheek to Cheek, Isn’t It A Lovely Day and Top Hat as well as other Irving Berlin standards such as Putting On the Ritz, all of which I have played many a time on Stage and Screen and will continue to do so.

Of course the show is just as much about the dancing and the comedy. The set design and costumes are also to be applauded. Beautiful art deco. Everyone on the stage looked like they were stars straight out of a 1930’s Hollywood movie.

The wisecracks keep coming. "Is there no beginning to your talents?" the heroine asks of the dancing hero. A wife-dominated producer also tells him: "A man is incomplete until he's married – after that he's finished!"

I had a fantastic time and can’t wait to see another musical performed on the stage. There are so many revivals at the moment I don’t know which to choose! - June Wood

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