After last week’s trip to Dartford to see Dirty Dancing I’ve been in a musical daydream ever since; listening to the soundtrack on repeat and indulging in Evita, Cats, Les Miserables and more.
When I saw that the Dartford Amateur Operatic Dramatic Society(DAODS) had the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic Top Hat lined up as their next show I was desperate to go along – I’ve always secretly wanted to have a go at amateur dramatics myself but I can’t sing or dance and I have massive respect for anyone who can.
Top Hat is a 1932 screwball comedy musical that was the most famous film that Astaire and Rogers made together; telling the story of Broadway superstar Jerry Travers(Astaire), who travels to London to star in the West End and meets society girl Dale Tremont(Rogers) and what follows is a classic story of mistaken identity with plenty of laughs, beautiful dance scenes and an Irving Berlin soundtrack containing classics such as ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’, ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’. It was adapted for the stage in 2011.
After a disastrous journey(the M25 sucks) I arrived late and was gutted to have missed the first ten minutes – luckily it was easy to pick the story up and I was incredibly impressed from the off.
Paul Farlie as Jerry Travers was spot-on – a suitably suave leading man for the role while Faith Rogers as Dale Tremont was elegant and beautiful, both parts were played brilliantly. I was impressed by both leads and I found myself utterly invested in the story and the amount of work that cast and crew had put into this production was clear to see.
The big musical numbers were fun, classic and the choreography was amazing; my favourite was Top Hat, White Tie and Tails – I wanted to get up and tap along…
Astaire-Rogers pictures had beautiful art-deco sets(known as the Big White Set) and I loved the art-deco staging and sets, especially the hotel. It was visually very pleasing, which, along with a fabulous cast you could really sense the fun and passion from every single member of the cast. There were a few minor hiccups but nothing massive, and nothing that affected my positive experience of this production.
I was especially impressed with the costumes – the ladies dresses in Venice were especially gorgeous and not forgetting the infamous feather dress Dale wears in ‘Cheek to Cheek’; just fabulous.
It was a long show but I didn’t want it to end – it was fabulous from start to finish and an absolute treat – it’s on at The Orchard Theatre Dartford until the 13th October – click here for more information and to buy tickets.
Thank you so much for letting me come along – I’ll be tap-tapping for weeks!
**I was given tickets for Top Hat in return for a review. All opinions as always are honest and my own**