Top Hat ‘heads’ home

Hollywood glamour at MK Theatre in Top Hat, back here from Tuesday
Hollywood glamour at MK Theatre in Top Hat, back here from Tuesday

Back in 2011 Milton Keynes Theatre was privileged to host the world premiere of Top Hat.

The film was 1930s Hollywood glamour at its very best – with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and those oh-so-famous dance routines at its core.

It had to be more than good enough; it had to be truly outstanding.

And so it proved to be.

Top Hat returns here this coming week all grown up, and with accolades to boot – three Olivier Awards can’t be wrong.

Its West End success and critical acclaim was followed by Olivier’s for Best Costume Design, Best Choreography and the big one, Best New Musical.

Eighty years since the film premiered at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Irving Berlin scored work is still sitting comfortably in the upper tier of ‘greatest dance musicals of all time.’

Jerry Travers is a famous American tap dancer, who touches down in London to appear in his first West End show.

He meets the irresistible Dale Tremont and sets off across Europe to try and win her heart.

It is a funny piece, and bursting with songs that are still strong players in today’s very different climate – Cheek to Cheek and Let’s Face the Music and Dance, anyone?

Irving Berlin’s amazing pool of musical plenty has been further borrowed from though, and other numbers by him – Putting on the Ritz, for example – are also lively additions in the piece.

Producer Kenny Wax is the man who had the original vision for Top Hat.

He promises that those of you who were privy to the world premiere will notice some changes this time around.

“It has really sharpened up,” he promises.

“We have tried to make this show very easy, very accessible and great fun.”

Playing the title roles on this tour are Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch, neither of whom come to the work without form – having both performed the roles in the West End.

A cast just shy of 30 is bolstered some more by a live band of 11 musicians, and together they will provide an uplifting, warming, funny night out.

“Because it is so big and expensive, once a show like Top Hat is gone it will probably be many years before it gets revived again,” Kenny admitted.

“I am really hoping everyone will come back to see it again, and for the people who haven’t seen it, not to miss the opportunity...”

Nothing has been scrimped on with this production which is sumptuous and sleek, and begging for your attention.

Top Hat ‘comes home’ to us from Tuesday, and runs through to Saturday September 6.

Tickets start at £21.50 and rise to £43.50.

Book in person, online at www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or call 0844 871 7652.