This time last year my friend Rosemary and I had tickets for this show when it was on tour. We were going to drive to Norwich, see the show, have a good meal and we had a hotel for the night. Looking forward to it hugely, then down came the snow, conditions dreadful and we had to cancel. So delighted to see it move to the West End, booked tickets, and down came the snow and I really began to wonder if we would be forced to cancel again. But despite the doom laden weathermen and the words of the Job's Comforters who forecast we would never been seen again if we hit the A12 yesterday, all was well.
The star of the show, taking the Fred Astaire part, is Tom Chambers. An actor, unknown to me as he appeared in Holby City which I never watched, I first spotted him when he was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing a few years ago. Immensely likeable and charming and with grace and style he went on to win the trophy and shortly afterwards embarked on a musical theatre career. When I heard he was in this show I knew I wanted to see it.
I have been a fan of the Fred and Ginger movies since I first saw Top Hat when I was eleven on my little black and white TV, the grace and elegance of their dancing has remained with me ever since. I rewatched the film again just to remind myself of it all before Rosemary and I set off to see the stage show. Though a great deal of the choreography was familiar it was not just a copy of the film but had had extra new routines added and additional songs were added by using some numbers from other Fred and Ginger films, including Let's face the Music and Dance, and I'm Putting all my Eggs in One Basket which I found a tad disconcerting, but they fitted in well.
It was one of those shows that lift the spirit and make you happy. As soon as the overture struck up most of the audience started swaying in their seats and joining in the songs. The performances were all excellent, with plenty of wit and humour and the sets wonderfully art deco, and oh the clothes - all that bias cut satin and thirties elegance. The kind of clothes that we all long to wear but know that they can only be shown off by somebody with no bum or tits, both of which I have in abundance, sadly...
A gloriously delicious afternoon helped by the care and attention of the staff who looked after Rosemary and I well, plus others in wheelchairs and with walking difficulties. Nothing was too much trouble for them.
The bonus was that on the way up I parked outside Helen and James' house and so had the delight of seeing Florence and Beatrice and giving them a cuddle. Rosemary had not met Beatrice and had not seen Florence for a while so, really, one could not ask for a better day. Family, good friend, good lunch, wonderful show and then back to Rosemary for a pasta dish cooked for us by her son, and an evening at home, nice and warm, hot chocolate and bed.