the occasional thoughts of a theater fan
Top Hat is the very definition of a big, classic, splashy feast of dance and music. One of Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger's most enjoyable films together (nominated for four Academy Awards), it is chock full of irresistible tunes from Irving Berlin, and masterful tap choreography that will, I maintain, convert even a non-dance fan.
The humor is broad and slapstick, and the production (and talented cast) completely own the show's spirit, an essential element to its success. I've seen the show twice now (once during its West End run), with a huge grin on my face through each performance. Last evening, the lady to my right was moved to softly sing along a few times, something that would normally raise my ire, but as it happened, she had a lovely voice, and was so enjoying the show, that I couldn't hold it against her. And the young woman in front of her was full-on dancing in her seat from the first notes of the overture. Alan's co-lead, Charlotte Gooch, is wonderful as Dale Tremont, and the sustained applause after Cheek to Cheek, was a testament to the charming chemistry of the pair.
The tour has, thankfully, brought along two of my favorite featured actors from the West End, Clive Hayward as Horace Hardwick, Jerry's London producer, and John Conroy as Bates, Hardwick's long-suffering, dry humored, primly genius valet.
The very modern Bord Gáis sits in the Docklands neighborhood of Dublin, right on the River Liffey; and their upcoming season of shows, is quite appealing (Carousel, The Sound of Music and others)...enough so that I find myself wishing I lived just a bit closer! On a practical note, the seats were comfortable and the sight lines seemed good overall. As for Top Hat, the tour runs through July in the UK, and may even visit Japan in October. If you happen to be in one of the neighborhoods, go see it! And if you meet up with Alan, tell him I said "hi." :)
In fact, I had such fun last night, that I think I may just pop over and see the show again before I leave Dublin...:). See why, below...