Top Hat brings Hollywood Glamour to the Wolverhampton Grand

The glamour and elegance of the Hollywood musical came to the Wolverhampton Grand last night, for the opening of the award-winning musical delight that is Top Hat. The classic songs of Irving Berlin and the sheer romance and screwball comedy of the show had the audience totally enthralled from start to finish, with the spirit of Fred and Ginger most definitely lingering in the air.

TOP HAT BANNER (W'TON GRAND) FRAMED

Top Hat is one of the most beloved musicals of the 1930s, it was certainly the crowing moment of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers partnership. It is one of the strange paradoxes of the 1930s that whilst the world was going through the great depression, with many living in poverty and hardship, the movies got bigger, more extravagant and filled with evermore glamour, glitz and glitter. Escapism was the key, and you can’t get any more escapist than Top Hat.

TOP HAT THE MUSICAL DRESS REHEARSALThe story is the classic tale of mistaken identity that thwarts a promising romance. Broadway star Jerry Travers arrives in London for a triumphant West End debut. Whilst staying at a stunning Art Deco hotel (surely The Savoy, complete with the most amazing Art Deco sets) he meets the beautiful Dale Tremont, a woman who seems immune to his immense charm. Jerry wins her over, during a dreamily romantic sequence in the rain, but then loses her again when she mistakenly believes him to be a married man. Jerry then make a trip to Venice to get the girl of his dreams. All sorts of madcap adventures ensue before the inevitable happy ending.

TOP HAT THE MUSICAL DRESS REHEARSALIn the role of Jerry, Alan Burkitt is absolutely perfect. Showing immense charisma, he makes Jerry immensely likeable, but is also suave and sophisticated. His tap dancing is admirable, you cannot help but compare him to Fred in the same role, but Alan Birkett compares favourably – he is lithe, energetic and supremely elegant, a perfect leading man.

The Ginger Rogers role is played by Charlotte Gooch and she is simply stunning. A gorgeous presence, Charlotte has the acid wit of Dale down to a tee, and can yet be vulnerable too, particularly during the beautiful ‘Better luck next time’. Her statuesque physique makes her more than a match for Jerry, and she is grace personified in the exquisite costumes that she wears throughout, particularly the famous white feathers of ‘cheek to cheek’.

tophat-SliderThe supporting cast is equally wonderful. Clive Hayward, as Horace Hardwick, has many of the best one liners, whilst his wife Madge (played by Rebecca Thornhill) brings to mind the wit and style of Katherine Hepburn. I loved Bates (John Conroy), the faithful valet who is hilarious in a series of different disguises (I won’t spoil the story by revealing why.) Another hilarious turn is Sebastien Torkia as the cartoon Italian designer Alberto Beddini. His mangled English is a joy to behold.

Of course, the story is only a small part of Top Hat. Those classic songs, from ‘Puttin on the Ritz’, ‘Let’s face the music and Dance’, and the exquisite ‘Cheek to Cheek’ all sound as good as ever, a testament to the genius of Irving Berlin. The choreography by Bill Deamer is perfectly balanced, the energetic tap dancing contrasting  superbly with the romance of the American Smooth styles. The sets were truly astounding, the Grand stage was transformed into an Art Deco paradise hotel, and then the Venice Lido. The set changes were seamless, and, apart from a slight hitch when the stage doors failed to open properly, they were also flawless. And the costumes were exquisite, Jon Morrell harnessing all that was stunning about 1930s style, creating incredible look after incredible look (oh for an hour in Dale’s wardrobe.)

Top Hat is a night of glamour, romance and sheer escapism. Don’t miss it.

Top Hat is at the Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 1st November, click here for ticket information.

Retro glamour with added feathers

I don’t mind admitting that I am truly excited about an event I am going to be attending tomorrow night. The award winning musical Top Hat is opening at the Wolverhampton Grand, and, as a huge fan of the original 1930s movie, I am literally counting down the hours until the show.

Top Hat has been called the daddy of the 1930s musical, full of romance, glorious songs (Puttin on the Ritz, Let’s face the music and dance, Cheek to Cheek) and some of the most beautiful costumes of all time. And I guess that is what has got my excitement levels soaring to an all time high – the thought of those gorgeous, glittering costumes that are simply filled with sparkle, sequins and, best of all, all those feathers.

Is there anything more glamorous than an outfit festooned with marabou or ostrich feathers. Think of Ginger Rogers in the iconic dress from top hat, these feathers perfectly framing that beautiful face, and then swishing at her hemline as she danced cheek to cheek with Fred Astaire. Then there is Kylie, the ultimate showgirl, who is never fully dressed without a tall headdress and a feathered skirt. One of the most iconic of Kate Moss’s looks featured black feathers and Johnny Depp on her arm, whilst Jennifer Lopez is another fan of the feather.

There are some truly exquisite feathered creations on the High Street at the moment, and there are also exquisite designer creations available at Selfridges for those moments when we have a little dream about money being no object.

Let’s enjoy and wallow in the lure of the feather.

Iconic Ladies in Feathers

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Just so glamorous!

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Icon in the making – Laura Whitmore.

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I’m so looking forward to seeing this – the new adaptation of Top Hat.

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Kylie – The Ultimate Showgirl.

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Kate and Johnny.

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The effortless Emma Watson

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Ginger in Top Hat

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Fred and Ginger – He gave her class, she gave him sex.

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Modern goddesss Jennifer Lopez.

Feathers Autumn 2014 style

Kate Feather Shoulder Bodycon Dress £35.00 click to visit Boohoo

Kate Feather Shoulder Bodycon Dress
£35.00 click to visit Boohoo

 

Lucinda Feather Trim Shift Dress £35 click to visit Boohoo

Lucinda Feather Trim Shift Dress £35 click to visit Boohoo

Lucinda Feather Trim Shift Dress £35 click to visit Boohoo

Lucinda Feather Trim Shift Dress £35 click to visit Boohoo

Rosanna Feather Trim Sleeveless Shell Top £18.00 click to visit Boohoo

Rosanna Feather Trim Sleeveless Shell Top
£18.00 click to visit Boohoo

Lana Feather Collar Necklace £10.00 click to visit Boohoo

Lana Feather Collar Necklace £10.00 click to visit Boohoo

Claral Prom Dress With Feathered Hem Detail £39.99 click to visit Missguided

Claral Prom Dress With Feathered Hem Detail £39.99 click to visit Missguided

Shiny Feather Cape     Price: £110.00 click to visit Topshop

Shiny Feather Cape
Price: £110.00 click to visit Topshop

Purple Feather Chain Cape     Price: £55.00 click to visit Miss Selfridge

Purple Feather Chain Cape
Price: £55.00 click to visit Miss Selfridge

CERIN JACKET £195.00 click to visit Coast

CERIN JACKET
£195.00 click to visit Coast

LILI FEATHER TOP £85.00 click to visit Coast

LILI FEATHER TOP
£85.00 click to visit Coast

CHERISH FEATHER DRESS £250.00 click to visit Coast

CHERISH FEATHER DRESS
£250.00 click to visit Coast

AGNES FEATHER TOP £75.00 click to visit Coast

AGNES FEATHER TOP
£75.00 click to visit Coast

Designer feathers

 VICTORIA BECKHAM Feather-hem crepe dress £2,100 click to visit Selfridges

VICTORIA BECKHAM Feather-hem crepe dress
£2,100 click to visit Selfridges

TEMPERLEY LONDON Feather coat      £1,495.00 click to visit Selfridges

TEMPERLEY LONDON Feather coat
£1,495.00
click to visit Selfridges

JENNY PACKHAM Feather shrug £755 click to visit Selfridges

JENNY PACKHAM Feather shrug £755 click to visit Selfridges

Look out for a review of Top Hat on Wednesday.