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Theatre Reviews.

Top Hat Birmingham Hippodrome ***** well worth the 76-year wait.

The world premiere stage production of the 1935 classic Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film Top Hat has 'hit' written all over it.

A (top) hatful of catchy tunes? Cheek to Cheek, Let's Face The Music and Dance... Check. Showstopping set pieces and slick choreography? Check. Two great leads and a fabulous supporting cast? Check and check.

Wholly faithful to the 30s original, the story follows dancer Jerry Travers (Strictly winner Tom Chambers on top form in the Astaire role), who meets and falls for the glamorous Dale Tremont (Summer Strallen - great legs, great voice).

Of course true love never runs smoothly and the screwball plot centres around a case of mistaken identity and slapped faces.

There's a great ensemble of impresario Horace Hardwick (Martin Ball), long suffering wife Madge (Vivien Parry), manservant Bates (Stephen Boswell, magnificent) and Ricardo Afonso as Italian Alberto Beddini.

But it's the song and dance routines that the audience - many in black tie, tiaras and fascinators - had come to see; Chambers' tap routine with a hatstand and the Act I closer Top Hat, White Tie and Tails the real standouts, but apart from a couple of slight hiccups with the set, it was faultless.

The standing ovation said it all.

(Until September 10).

JON PERKS
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 1, 2011
Words:218
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