Top Hat
April 21, 2012  //  By:   //  Musicals  //  Comments are off

Wilmas rating: [rating=4]

Where: Aldwych Theatre, 49 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DF

How Much: £15-£55
(preview prices until £10 May)
then £15-£65 thereafter

How long: 2hrs 40mins including interval

Running until: January 26th 2013

Programme £3.50
Mug £6
Magnet £4
T-Shirt £15
Apron £15
Polo shirt £15
Hoodie £25
Original film DVD £10

Beer £4
Wine £6.50
Water £2
Ice cream £3

Review performance date:
April 20 2012

Nearest Rail station:
Charing Cross

Nearest Tube station:
Charing Cross

Website: Aldwych Theatre

Seating chart


I worry about the dancers on this show… they did not stop smiling for the entire three-hour performance. Surely it is unnatural to smile for that long?

The last time I was at the Aldwych theatre was to see Dirty Dancing, which, lets just say, I did not enjoy! Not knowing much about Top Hat I had my reservations before the show about what to expect.My ‘Restricted View’ £15 seat was one of the most restricted views I have had in a long time, with half the stage blocked from view for the entire performance. Not that I’m complaining, you get what you pay for and it is the risk you run when booking these kind of seats when you do not know what the view will be like.

The Aldwych theatre is beautiful. Despite feeling like a peasant by having to walk around the back of the building in order to enter the Grand Circle, once you are up there you can see the beauty of the old theatre which has real character.

Top Hat the Musical has just come into the west end after two short runs in both Bristol and Wimbledon. These runs were obviously used to perfect the show before it’s first night in the West End. Perfect it they have and the entire performance was flawless. The magnificent 1930’s costumes, the wonderful scenery (apart from one slightly amateur part where they appear to be on an aeroplane, but the comedy in this scene makes up for it), the music and of course the amazing dancing.

Top Hat is based on the 1935 film staring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers where we see Broadway dancer Jerry Travers (Astaire) fly to London to perform in a new show for producer Horace Hardwick. Jerry soon meets the beautiful Dale Tremont (Rogers) and falls in love. A misunderstanding leads Dale to believe that Jerry is already married and that his intentions aren’t true. Meanwhile, producer Horace and his wife Madge struggle to celebrate their third wedding anniversary without killing each other.

This hilarious comedic musical combines everything you want in a show and every performance is sublime. Ex Holby City actor and winner of 2008’s Strictly Come Dancing Tom Chambers and musical theatre beauty Summer Strallen take the lead roles in their stride, making tap dancing and complex routines look like they come naturally to them. Horace and wife Madge, played by Martin Ball (Wilma’s latest crush!) and Vivien Parry bring the real comedy in this production with their number ‘Outside of that, I love you’.

‘Lets Face The Music and Dance’ is the biggest number of the night with a well-received repeat performance at the curtain call.

The only criticism Wilma can give to this show is that at just under three hours it is possibly a little too long (although I hear this is the condensed version!) Apart from that, and believe me, I’ve tried to find something negative to say about this show, I can’t.

Top Hat is a masterpiece and a pleasure to have watched. Hopefully one day Wilma will get to see it again, this time with a whole view of the stage!