Top entertainment with this classy dance extravaganza

Perhaps it’s the Strictly factor which has made many of us hoofers in our hearts, no matter how inept or non-existent are our dance floor steps.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 7th November 2014, 11:44 am

Or – and this is more likely – it is the sheer exuberance of theatrical escapism, when you leave the auditorium thinking that life isn’t so bad after all when there’s music and love and romance.

Either way, it explains why Nottingham’s Theatre Royal is packing them in for the touring performance of Top Hat, the stage version of the 1935 film which turned Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers into superstars.

The plot is mere candyfloss: an American song and dance man comes to London and falls in love with a girl on the floor below his bedroom. Pursuit looks like earning reward only for a series of hilarious misunderstandings and mistaken identities across London and Venice.

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There are some very funny one-liners and a descent into farce near the end. It could be argued that at two and a half hours the show is a bit long, although the terrific reception at curtain call gives the lie to this.

Of course, none of this matters.

This is all about music and dance – several other Irving Berlin hits have been added to the five songs in the film – and here the stars excel.

Alan Burkitt in the Astaire role is just superb. His tap dancing is incredible as he glides around the stage and his vocals capture 1930s style and refinement. Charlotte Gooch steps into Ginger’s shoes with aplomb and their stage chemistry glows.

Clive Hayward as the show producer and Madge Thornhill as his wife offer strong support and butler John Conroy makes the most of several opportunities for comedy. At every turn there is a dance highlight.

So tie on that white tie and step out to breathe an atmosphere that simply reeks with class.