Last week, I had the great pleasure of going to see one of the classics of Hollywood cinema displayed in all its wonderful glitzy glam and glory right here on stage in London’s West End. A musical which is familiar to many of us in one way or another.
Its catchy tunes and toe-tapping dexterity from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers delighted the audiences in 1935 with their grace and elegance and now I am very pleased to say I was equally delighted to experience one of the most exhilarating performances I have seen in the West End for a long time.
I am, of course, talking about the musical Top Hat. In a day and age when we all seem to have become so cynical and depressed with the world around us, every day the news and media throw negativity and violence at us with war and corruption, it is a breath of very much needed fresh and healthy air to have something like Top Hat to restore faith in the human condition. To transport us to a place where all is well and beauty reigns.
Of course, there will be people who say ‘but that is just a story, it’s fantasy, it’s not real’. But is this true? To the people who say that this sort of musical is ‘not real’ I say on the contrary, I believe that it is very real. Musicals like Top Hat were written at a time of great need and devastation. The Depression had just hit the United States and there were very serious rumblings of another world war in Europe. The world was in deep depression not just financially but spiritually.
It was during these times that Top Hat was premiered just for that reason, to lift the spirits of society and present to them an alternative to the doom and gloom of ‘reality’. Romance, humour, faithfulness, fashion and glamour were great tools to lift people into a world where everything was well, even if it was just for an hour or so. Surely, this was no bad thing, considering the times. And it could be argued that something like Top Hat was well overdue in our times as well for the very same reasons.
The ‘reality’ of the musical lies in those universal values which have always been with us and form part of the fabric of the human condition. Happiness, romance, humour, joy – love. Love is something I felt very deeply whilst sitting in the audience and delighting in Top Hat. It gave me hope and lifted my own spirits transporting me into that timeless world. I look forward to more shows like this in the future.
The London run at the Aldwych Theatre has just ended but the show will be on a UK tour in 2014 with dates to be announced. If you would like to see it register here for tour date details http://www.tophatonstage.com/tickets/
Pictures Courtesy of http://www.tophatonstage.com