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When shows leave London – “Top Hat” in Manchester

February 13, 2015
So, a show tours, comes into the West End, then leaves again. What happens next? Reader Nicky reviews the current “Top Hat” run in Manchester:
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I absolutely love this show – I think it has to rank as one of the best British musicals.   It just has everything you want:  tap dancing men in top hats with canes…beautiful dresses…sublime dancing.   You can overlook the slightly ludicrous plot because of all these!

The current production stars Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch.  I have seen ‘Top Hat’ twice already with Tom Chambers.  I have to say that I feel Alan Burkitt is a lot easier in the role than Tom Chambers was.  He just seems to glide effortlessly through the performance.  Having seen him, on reflection I feel that Tom Chambers was perhaps a little contrived and dare I say it…forced.  No disrespect to Tom Chambers who did the show proud but in my opinion, Alan Burkitt is better suited to the role.  He also bears a slight resemblance to Fred Astaire…well I was in Row N of the circle so that may have had something to do with it

I felt that the chemistry between Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch worked extremely well, particularly during the “if I was a tiger in Africa” song.  Her energy (and high kicks) were amazing!

Clive Hayward as Horace Hardwick was effortlessly funny, playing the downtrodden husband very well indeed with excellent delivery and comic timing.

John Conroy as the stoical Bates was hilarious and he received an extra big cheer from the audience during the curtain call.

Sebastian Torkia as Alberto Beddini was funny from the moment he appeared on stage but really came into his own in the “bridal suite” scene.  Again, his comic timing was faultless and there was a lot of physical comedy involved too.

The orchestra accompanying the production are outstanding – the overture really set the mood and added to the eager anticipation of the show.  The music is just beautiful – another reason this is a must-see musical.  My  female companion and I are both ballroom dancers and we found ourselves performing a virtual Quickstep (not easy in cramped seats) to many of the songs!

One of my favourite scenes is just before the end of Act 1 – the tap dancing.  Absolutely breathtaking.  The timing and precision are faultless.

Sadly, there were a lot of empty seats.  We went on a Thursday evening.  The show has been on since 9 February and runs until 21 February 2015.  People don’t know what they’re missing.

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