Posts Tagged ‘musical’

Top Hat, Aldwych Theatre, London’s West End, May 2012

11 May, 2012

If you like a frothy musical with lots of dancing, and numbers like Cheek to Cheek by Irving Berlin, this is for you.

Tom Chambers and ensemble, all images Brinkhoff and Mogenburg

It’s the early 1930s and an American dancer named Jerry Travers has come to London to star in a show produced by wealthy Horace Hardwick. A tap dance routine he performs in his hotel room awakens the lovely Dale Tremont. She treats him with disdain, but he falls for her and spares no effort to bring her round. All would be well, but a case of mistaken identity carries the affair off to Venice.

Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen

There are funny lines aplenty, often inspired by the ridiculous Horace Hardwick, ”A man is incomplete before he’s married. After that he’s finished”. This may not seem very witty when written down, but delivered in a Bob Hope kind of way by a string-bean version of Henry Higgins, it’s funny. Martin Ball gave a fine performance as Hardwick, and talking of string-beans, Stephen Boswell was wonderful as his man, Bates. Vivien Parry carried off the role of Hardwick’s wife with great panache, delivering some superb lines, but the main plaudits must go to Summer Strallen as Dale Tremont: super stage presence and wonderful dancing — she was great.

Tom Chambers starred as Jerry Travers, giving him great charm, and his playful pas-de-deux with the hat stand in Act I was a delight. Super ensemble dancing by the company to choreography by Bill Deamer, and the sets by Hildegard Bechtler were glorious. Lovely costumes by Jon Morrell and good lighting by Peter Mumford. The story line is a bit thin, but Matthew White has directed a hugely appealing show that never flags for a minute, and left the audience with a sense of euphoria.

Booking available until 26 January 2013 — for details click here.

Salad Days, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London, November 2009

26 November, 2009

What fun this was! The old 1950s musical by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds is a feast of joie de vivre and absurdity. And this Tête à Tête production worked like a charm, with the performers on a grassy lawn of astroturf, while some of the audience were at café tables, and others on a grassy bank. As winter approaches one can imagine that summers were always like this. A magical piano plays in the park, compelling even the policemen to dance, to say nothing of the lovers Jane and Timothy, well portrayed by Michelle Francis and Sam Harrison, with refined accents that never went over the top. They take care of the piano owned by a tramp and thaumaturge, who later turns out to be Timothy’s ‘black-sheep’ uncle. He was wonderfully well played by Matthew Hawksworth, who doubled up in other roles, such as the bishop, and danced gloriously in the choreography designed by Quinny Sacks. The dancing at one point even involved audience members, including yours truly who was gratified by congratulations from the director, Bill Bankes-Jones. His direction gave us a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and we left with spirits high despite the dismal weather outside.