Share |

Top Hat at Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Louise Winter on 27th Aug 2014 | View all blogs by Louise Winter



I had been so looking forward to this show and had very high expectations and these were fully met! This is just a wonderful, wonderful show. When I was in my teens there was often an Astaire and Rogers musical on the TV on a Saturday afternoon and I spent many happy hours escaping into them. There is nothing better – except experiencing it live!

A hugely ambitious project when aspects are considered as a whole – staging, costumes, the dancing, the music. It’s a vast undertaking but this stage adaptation is perfectly done. There is a quality that is undeniable. Hildegard Bechtler’s staging is gorgeous; totally authentic looking Art Deco sets that scream class and appear to have been created out of love. The set moves to create quirky little scenes: the hansom cab, inside a plane, glimpses into other scenes behind. Jon Morrell’s costumes look (and therefore I imagine) are very expensive indeed. The attention to the detail is wonderful and just a delight to look at.


Alan Burkett (playing Jerry Travers) and Charlotte Gooch (Dale Tremont) as the leads have a great chemistry on stage and their singing and dancing is, of course, sublime. There is a lot to live up to and the pressure must be heavy but Burkitt has the mannerisms of Astaire when dancing; that relaxed, almost casual, feel. Gooch is cheeky and sassy. They are fantastic ambassadors for the show and its heritage.

The script is so sharp and fast that you do have to keep up. This is especially so in the interaction between Horace Hardwick (Clive Hayward who steals the scene many a time!) and Jerry. The bickering between Hardwick and his wife Madge (Rebecca Thornhill) is very funny. Other super performances are from Sebastian Torkia as the hilarious Alberto Beddini and John Conroy as Bates.


This is a superlative production. It is of course, Irving Berlin’s music including Top Hat (obviously), White tie and Tails, Puttin’ on the Ritz, and Let’s Face the Music and Dance, that are completely ageless. Jae Alexander’s musical direction keeps things zipping along. The totally faithful adherence to the original score is heartwarming as is the retention of the original choreography. These two aspects are the reason that this show has been so well supported but it is the execution of these along with the wonderful performances, the sumptuous costumes, the art deco staging, and overall high polish make this a first class production.

It was very busy at MK Theatre last night but do try and get tickets. It's uplifting to see a show of such impeccable quality.

TOP HAT at Milton Keynes Theatre
Until 6 September 2014
Tickets £21.50 - £58.40 (booking fee)


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks, Louise. This sounds like a modern classic!
Please login or sign up to post on this network.
Click here to sign up now.