West End review: Top Hat
PUBLISHED: 15:13 20 September 2012
If the opulent sheen of the 1930s Art Deco scene depicted so skilfully in West End nostalgia fest Top Hat doesn’t leave a sparkle in your eye then not much will.
Musicals can fall into the trap of style over substance and there’s not exactly a lot to think about in this version of the Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire 1935 screen hit.
But Matthew White and Howard Jacques’ adaptation has the basics in check with its witty one-liners, plush costumes and spot-on choreography.
The story follows sultry blonde Dale Tremont who comes to the comic conclusion that her friend’s husband is shamelessly perusing her.
The man who is in actual fact after her affections is smooth Broadway star Jerry Travers. It’s a tried and tested formula of mistaken identity.
Every joke is pretty much based around this loose premise but the wisecracks are funny enough, the dance sequences charming enough and the age of pure, unadulterated glamour that the stunning set evokes holds the production together.
At one point, Dale’s friend’s real husband tells Jerry of his unrelenting misfortune.
“I went to a funeral last week,” he deadpans. “And caught the bouquet.”
In another scene between Dale and Jerry, she quips: “Is there no beginning to your talents?”
Throw into the mix classics such as Puttin’ On The Ritz and Let’s Face the Music and Dance and Top Hat becomes a decent night out.
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