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Tonight Belongs To Us

by on 15 October 2021

From Gloom To Boom, Bursting With Vitality

Tonight Belongs to Us

TOPS Musical Theatre Company at the Hampton Hill Theatre until 16th October  

Review by Patrick Adams

Barnum, 2017

TOPS hit the ground running with its musical extravaganza Tonight Belongs To Us at the Hampton Hill Theatre.  They burst out of the gloom and doom of Covid with a production pulsating with vitality and energy saying, ‘look at us, we are back and we’re great’.  And they were.

The setting was minimal, but effective.  The excellent five-piece ensemble with Musical Director, John Davies, was upstage, but as if in an orchestra pit, next to steps leading to a large platform enabling some variation of height for the performers.

Imagine you are at a performance and come to the showstopper number for that particular show.  This is then followed by a showstopper from another production, followed by yet another showstopper, and yet another.  This was TOPS recipe for a splendid musical evening.

The opening Medley set the look for what was to follow.  A strong blue background enabled the characters, dressed in black and white, to stand out vibrantly.  The women wore white skirts of music manuscript and the men in similar waistcoats.  I tried to read the musical annotation but without success.  The costuming throughout was imaginative, colourful and right for the periods portrayed. 

Choosing which “showstopper” to comment on is difficult because of the equal excellence of the presentation.  I enjoyed them all.  Perhaps a star throughout the production was the choreography of Lacey Creed and TJ Lloyd.  There were six or eight dancers in particular that delighted us with their grace, flexibility and athleticism.

Nine to Five, 2018

I enjoyed the “fun” numbers too, like the all-in-green This is our Story from Shrek with Ben Roberts, Alex Anderson and Tyler Fagan, the colourful Barnum Mash Up from Barnum with Ben Roberts and Ian Stark and the happiness with Shine Like the Sun with Alex Anderson, Ellie Barratt and Lacey Creed.  Another welcome musical moment was provided by When You Believe from Sondheim’s The Prince of Egypt with Connie Law and Kendall Knight, all backed by the splendid singing and dancing of the company. 

A welcome calm moment was provided by Sondheim’s Children Will Listen and Anyone Can Whistle, sensitively and movingly sung by Bee Wilkinson, Simon Burgess and Alex Aucken.  Perhaps a few similar songs could have been included that did not end with a vibrant high note to great applause. 

If you do have an opportunity to visit Hampton Hill Theatre to see Tonight Belongs to Us, then take it.  It’s a show not to be missed.

Patrick Adams, October 2021

Photography by Ace

One Comment
  1. celiabard permalink

    What a great start for TOPs’ return to Musical Theatre. Hurrah!

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