Top Hat, The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until Saturday, September 24.

A gloriously-silly plot, terrific dancing and some of the greatest musical numbers ever written… you simply couldn’t ask for more.

Friday, 16th September 2011, 11:58 am

Top Hat, finally on stage after the best part of a century, is a delight from first to last, a breath of fresh air delivered with remarkable skill and an energy that doesn’t dip for a moment.

The show-stealer is the deadpan valet Bates, offered up with blissful comic timing by Stephen Boswell - hilarious in his disguises.

Ricardo Afonso also ups the ante beautifully as the bonkers, OTT fashion man and would-be husband Alberto.

But anchoring it all are delicious performances from the leads Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen, the one a Hollywood heartthrob, the other the girl who makes his own heart miss a beat.

He’s smooth; she’s feisty. He’s in love; but a monumental misunderstanding stops her from realising that he’s the one for her.

But then again, the path to true love was never a smooth one. It’s rarely, however, as entertaining or as stylish as this particular path.

The dancing lifts your spirits; the songs stay with you, and what songs they are, everyone a cracker, from Cheek To Cheek to Let’s Face The Music And Dance, via You Can’t Brush Me Off and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Top Hat. Top that!

Phil Hewitt