REVIEW: Top Hat, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, until September 20

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YOU are cordially invited to an evening of graceful dancing, lavish costumes and sleek sophistication - should read the ticket to Top Hat.

This sublime show transports you to the golden era of Hollywood when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the tapping, twirling king and queen of the dancefloor.

Stepping into the hallowed shiny shoes of the pair are Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch who bring to life the dancing duo’s most successful motion picture film, Top Hat.

The stage adaptation stays true to the comedy and charm of the original 1935 film and takes you back to a time when courting was a more civilised affair, a time of stolen glances when men were dapper and women were wooed.

The storyline itself is a little silly, it’s entirely based upon a single case of mistaken identity. But who needs reality when you have glossy costumes, fantastic footwork and dancing which will make you swoon? This is escapist theatre at its finest.

Set design is an Art Deco delight and though there were some mechanical issues on opening night - I think some of the moving pieces were in need of some WD-40 - not even the odd set squeak and creak could detract from my enjoyment of this piece, which it certainly would with a lesser show.

Burkitt and Gooch, as Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont, have both appeared in the West End run of Top Hat - and it shows.

Theirs is an effortless dance pairing. Alan is commanding, yet gentle, as he envelops Charlotte in his hold. And she is a delight to watch as she deftly whirls around the stage.

She’s not your typical old school heroine though. Dale is a more spunky character who gives as good as she gets from her mischievous suitor with lines such as “Is there no beginning to your talents” and, when complimented on her dancing, replies: “I did everything you did... but backwards and in high heels.”

Their talents are helped, of course, by a glorious score from Irving Berlin.

Original tracks from the film feature, as well as other classics from his hefty back catalogue such as Puttin’ On The Ritz and Let’s Face The Music and Dance.

Top Hat, White Tie and Tails is delivered with particular panache as Burkitt leads a troupe of Top Hat-wearing tappers to close Act One with spectacular effect.

As the action moves to Venice, Gooch showcases her lithe limbs and footwork prowess as she slinks around the stage and wraps herself around Burkitt in a feat of faux seduction for number Wild About You.

The track many had been waiting for, Cheek to Cheek which features the famous white feathered frock, didn’t disappoint.

Feathers floated to the floor as the pair glided across the stage in perfect unison. Hats off to them.