TOP Hat landed at Manchester’s Opera House promising to bring ‘the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age and the glorious tap-dancing magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ to its stage.

Top billing for the musical, and it did not disappoint.


From the moment lead character Jerry Travers, played by Alan Burkitt, launched into a tap dance ensemble as the show opened to ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ it was instantly easy to see why the production had won Best New Musical, among other accolades.

From there on Top Hat was completely captivating, blending show-stopping dancing, vocals and a spine-tingling orchestra that whisked you right back to Hollywood’s golden age, with wit, humour and slapstick.

Playing grumpy but loveable butler Bates, John Conroy’s comic timing was impeccable, while a performance reminiscent of Fawlty Towers’ Spanish waiter Manuel by Sebastien Torkia, as fashion designer Alberto Beddini, raised a few laughs.

But it was almost impossible to take your eyes off the Fred and Ginger double-act.

The synchronicity between Burkitt and Gooch for Isnt This A Lovely Day (To Be Caught In The Rain)? – when the chemistry between the two characters sparks – was exceptional; their quality matched only by the exquisite costumes and set designs.

Top Hat, White Tie and Tails was a rousing end to Act One; the Finale brought the house down, and a standing ovation.

The musical’s arrival in Manchester marked the halfway stage of the tour, and it was a flawless performance by all.

Top Hat; top marks!

Until February 21