Top Hat at the Mayflower in Southampton

Katherine Ryan

REVIEW: Katherine Ryan at the Portsmouth Guildhall

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The glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age will be revived when Top Hat, the musical based on the film of the same name, comes to Mayflower Theatre on Tuesday.

Leading man Alan Burkitt has big tap shoes to fill as Jerry Travers, but as an All England Tap Dancer of the Year he has the qualifications.

He says: ‘There are not many parts in theatre with this amount of dance alongside the singing and acting.

‘Tap is my thing and Fred Astaire was an idol of mine growing up so when this came on the market I knew it was the part for me.

‘I covered the role when [Strictly Come Dancing winner] Tom Chambers did the role, and I also joined the company when it went into the West End.

‘Gavin Lee came from America to do the part, but unfortunately he was ill on the press night and I was chucked onstage.

I have got quite a boyish face, so they dyed my hair darker for this show to make me look stronger otherwise I tend to look cute

Alan Burkitt

‘Luckily I got such good feedback that it proved that I could do the part. You don’t need a star name for this show – people come to see the glamour and the dance.’

Stepping into the role originated by Ginger Rogers is Charlotte Gooch.

Alan says: ‘Charlotte and I had worked together on Cats six years ago so we already knew each other.

‘We were paired together, and when I get into a room with her it just works.

‘We can have banter. I can tell her do this or that and she will say the same to me.

Alan says teamwork is the key to making the show a success. ‘I do a lot more tap which is harder on the leg, but Charlotte has harder costumes to dance in, like her feather dress.

‘But then I have to manouevre the dress, work out where it is going to lie and how to pick her up in it. It really is a 50-50 split.’

To get the leading man look, Alan needed a bit of airbrushing. ‘I have got quite a boyish face, so they dyed my hair darker for this show to make me look stronger otherwise I tend to look cute.’

Top Hat is at Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday. Tickets: £19-43, visit mayflower.org.uk