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Review- Top Hat, Leeds Grand Theatre
Irving Berlin’s 1935 black and white musical film Top Hat is brought gloriously to life at the Grand Theatre Leeds in a flawless show that is beyond reproach.The traditional stage of the Grand is the perfect foil for a musical extravaganza and the 29-strong cast use every inch of it to good effect.Alan Burkitt (a former Tap Dancer of the Year) as Jerry Travers has the same boyish good looks as the young Fred Astaire and his tap dancing is slick and highly-accomplished. Perfectly cast alongside him as love interest Dale Tremont is Charlotte Gooch, recently see at this same theatre as Penny in Dirty Dancing. Her high kicks are a thing to behold and, to my mind, she’s every bit as good in the role as Ginger Rogers. The chemistry between the two love-struck leading players is palpable.There are some witty one liners and corny jokes courtesy of bickering married couple Horace (Clive Haward) and Madge Hardwick (Rebecca Thornhill) and laugh-out-loud slapstick scenes from Latin lover and dress designer Alberto Beddini (Sebastien Torkia) and manservant turned detective Bates (John Conroy), a master of disguise.Top Hat is filled with classic, memorable songs like Puttin’ on the Ritz, Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To be Caught in the Rain)?, Lets Face the Music and Dance and of course Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, that will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre.The 1930s-inspired costumes are simply divine with beautiful bias-cut dresses allowing the dancers to move with ease and fluidity even in the most energetic dance numbers and the inspired set-design moves the action from London hotel to Venice with consummate ease.Director Matthew White has gathered around him the best in the business with an award winning choreographer,set,sound and costume designer. The result is one of the best musicals I can recall seeing. Catch it if you can. Until January 11, 2015. Box office 0844 848 2700. www.leedsgrandtheatre.com

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