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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Simply the BEST musical on stage

Firstly, if you haven't entered my competition to win two tickets to Twinwood Festival then do jump and do that now, as the competition closes tonight (Tuesday) at Midnight BST (that is British Standard Time). 

Secondly, a bit of a fabulous musical is on in ole London town....

Last week we ran off to see Top Hat at the Aldwych theatre (and yes, we did pop into One Aldwych bar for pre theatre drinks).  Having seen the film more than just a few times I was a wee bit worried that they would muck about with the story, or the characters and costumes wouldn't be up to my critical eye, or, most likely, the dancing would fall terribly short of "Astaire" standard.

I was so wrong to be worried. It was FANTASTIC. The actors were so well cast and played their roles so well, that it was easy to get caught up in the story line and be delighted every time they appeared. They were all so good I couldn't pick a favourite. Though, it might just have to be Bates (Stephen Boswell), the Valet, who had me laughing in my seat and watching very closely to catch him sneaking around in a new disguise.

Dale Tremont (Summer Strallen) was so drop dead gorgeous I was positively green each time she came on stage and Jerry Travers (Tom Chambers) did a amazing job at taking on Fred's role, and filling those dancing shoes with the same Joie de vivre that Fred did. Horace (Martin Ball), Madge (Vivien Parry) and Alberto (Richardo Afonso) were all brilliant. Am I starting to sound a bit too sugary? Well, I should, because it was truly fantastic and I only wish I had the writing talent to recommend it in a higher regard without sounding sickly sweet.

You know you are watching a complete performer when you see a dancer recover from a near muck-up. Mr Wolf and I have performed enough in our past to realise when something wasn't quite right, and we both independently picked up and error that COULD have been plain awful... but no... we watched with bated breath, as a few improvised slow, smooth turns got the dancer back in the right spot where he picked up the routine up on just the right beat without the slightest dint in his gleaming smile. As dancers, we know how hard that is when you are on stage. LIVE. You hope it will never happen, but it does, and recovering from it is what live performance is all about. Well done, we take our (Top) hats off to you! 

The costumes (by Jon Morrrell) were wonderful, accurate and inspiring, I was gripped trying to see all the details and take in all the colours. I think the seaside scene was the best, though the finale had me and Gal Pal Jenny not daring to blink and nudging each other in the ribs for all the beautiful, floor length gowns.

The set design (by Hildegard Bechtler) took my breath away - So very very clever. I'm one of those people who notice HOW and when pieces are moved about the stage to create a new scene. I need a love seat like the one they had, and a screen like that, ohh... and a bed like that too.

I haven't mentioned choreography, or lighting, or those other magnificent talents that, when done well almost become invisible. They were all brilliant, except for one thing... the coach scene needed some movement in the background. My only disappointment in the whole show was that they appeared to be standing still.

You can tell I did thoroughly enjoy myself so, please, if you get the chance, go and support live theatre and get yourself a ticket if you can. And do buy yourself a souvenir brochure (the larger one has the better pictures) because I have only shown you snippets from mine.

If you are not near London, then I leave you with a U-Tube action packed temptation to drool over.

Shona x


  1. OMG, they even copied Ginger's feathered gown! Looks fantastic!

  2. Hildegard Bechtler is one of my FAVORITE set designers! The detail thats incorped into everything is just astounding. See you pictures and readign your review makes me wish I could go see it, it looks to die for!

  3. Ohhhhh I love Fred so much, I don't know if I can bear the thought of someone being as good as him!!! Ridiculous, I know!

    1. I think Fred is still Fred and Jerry is still Jerry, but he doesn't disappoint and he carries the role well. I wouldn't want to criticize his dancing without seeing it all in slow motion! Fred's shoes are a big pair to fill (no matter what size he was!)

  4. Thanks for this review - as a massive Fred Astaire fan I've been toying with the idea of seeing this musical and now you've convinced me that I must see it. Sounds wonderful!

  5. Oh, *so* jealous - I really miss London's shows and so would have gate crashed this trip were I still there! I will keep my fingers crossed that this might, one day, make it to Wellington's little St James....

  6. How wonderful! I live a long way from London (Australia) and a long way from a city big enough to have a production like that so thank you for the you tube clip! What a great night out it must have been.

  7. Ooh I have wanted to see this but worried it wouldn't be good enough, but now I really have to go - thank you so much for the review! xx

    Penny Dreadful Vintage

  8. That looks fab! I wish I lived in London :(


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