Review: Top Hat, Edinburgh Playhouse

Top Hat And Tails at The Playhouse

Top Hat And Tails at The Playhouse

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****

Big and bold – yet smooth and smooching in all the right places – the musical theatre adaptation of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ best- loved film glides into town, leaving a warm glow in its wake.

To answer the big question: Tom Chambers cuts it in the Fred Astaire role of Jerry Travers, a Broadway star who arrives in London free and single. He’s ready to live the life of a West End star – only to fall for the girl of his dreams, Dale Tremont.

So what if, despite winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2008, Chambers isn’t at Astaire’s standard. Who is? He does more than take a stab at Top Hat, White Tie and Tails – not quite with Astaire’s immaculate attention to detail, but well enough to impress.

What Chambers does have is a real chemistry with Summer Strallen who takes the Ginger Rogers role of Dale. Their falling head-over-heals is impeccably done. Isn’t This A Lovely Day, when they are caught sheltering in a bandstand during a thunderstorm, is the heart-throbbing moment it should be.

And when, by dint of the slender plot’s unlikely twist as the action moves from Belgravia to Venice, she mistakenly believes she has been seduced by her best friend’s husband, there is real regret – it almost makes you want to call out to her on stage.

Great stuff – and it all takes place in a towering art deco set that allows the action to move smoothly, if not altogether with great pace, from one opulent scene to the next.

The original songs from the film are well rendered and the ten extra songs, hijacked from the Irving Berlin back catalogue, are well worked into the plot. Let’s Face the Music, and I’m Putting all my Eggs in One Basket are particularly appealing. There could be one fewer, but as each builds it grows enough to make it tricky to pin point which.

A must for fans of both the original movie and Tom Chambers. Alesha Dixon would probably give it a sycophantic ten. It’s good, but it deserves a level-headed Craig Revel Horwood nine.

Runs until Saturday