Stephen Mear’s take on Top Hat, just opened at Leicestershire’s Kilworth House Theatre is further proof that for this summer at least, the very best musical theatre openings are all taking place outside of London.
Dan Burton who plays Sawyer’s love interest Billy Lawlor is another of Mear’s regular ingénues, last seen in the West End’s Gypsy. Arguably the best of his generation in musical theatre dance, Burton has a grace in his movement that has to be seen to be believed alongside perfectly pitched, mellifluous vocals. Other Brits in the cast include Alexander Hanson, Ria Jones and Jenny Dale.
There’s an aura of timeless quality that pervades the touring production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, currently in its second week at Wimbledon. Ian Fleming’s wonderfully imaginative tale, so quintessentially English, married to the universal appeal of the Sherman Brothers’ songs has made for a 20th century fairy tale that ranks alongside the classics.
Zizi Strallen plays the leading role and I have to say she was more than “practically perfect” – she was absolute perfection personified in this new stage adaptation of the Walt Disney film classic of the stories written by P L Travers. Strallen effortlessly glides around the stage at times almost seeming to be on wheels, her poise and demeanour of this quintessentially British nanny merely demonstrated that she was sheer brilliance in casting for the role.