Thursday, October 09, 2014

Top Hat at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre. What a glorious treat.

I admit to being seduced by the poster, the promise of Irving Berlin and a wistful longing for tap shoes.

But almost immediately on curtain up, I was gripped (literally, by an enchanted 12 year old) by the loveliest featheriest most beautifully clad most effervescent slice of 1930s froth.

And froth may be a disservice but the plot is pretty silly, hinging (don't they always?) on a misunderstanding. But it's delivered so wholeheartedly, so engagingly, so delightedly, by an extremely talented cast of something like 30 people, that you don't mind at all that it's froth and just enjoy the ride.

The set is magic (heart-stopping something or other technical jamming / sticking / refusing to perform aside). The costumes for drooling over. The choreography neat and nifty and you'd imagine it hasn't suffered very much from being squeezed into the "provincial" stage from its London birthing place. The acting is just nicely whole-hearted rather than eye-bulgingly jazz-handedly "musical" even though it is a musical. The band sumptuous and gorgeous. The singing as perky and husky and hopeful as you'd wish. The main girl is pretty and dry and boisterous but a little bit scared of being hurt - a very nice line trodden by Charlotte Gooch.

But the hero is surely Jerry (Alan Burkitt). Whom I could comfortably and with pleasure, watch dancing all night. Even with a coat stand. We were three rows from the front (thanks, BS) so you could the sweat sliding off him. But my goodness me, sweat aside, he hardly needed to seem to breathe. Effortless would be the word.

As Mr Barry Gordon, says, it's a real treat to get a complete show from London visiting here with every original morsel intact. I hope they producers are rewarded at the box office for their "audacity".

It's a shame this isn't here at Christmas as it's that kind of feel good show. But do you know, as it's bucketing with rain outside and getting dark by 6pm, it's a pretty good antidote to October too.

Please go see. It's gorgeous.


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