Crazy For You is a glorious romantic comedy musical. Whilst it may appear dated at first, Paul Hart’s incredible direction leads the show to the present without forgetting its roots. Based on the 1930 musical Girl Crazy, Crazy For You includes well-known Gershwin songs such as ‘I Got Rhythm’ and ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’, with a book by Ken Ludwig reminiscent of the Golden Age musical – it’s classically sentimental. Crazy For You is the kind of show which has you singing along and revelling in the contemporary yet quintessential lovey-dovey ideal which creates a tidal wave of nostalgia for the old-age musical.
Tom Chambers plays Bobby Child, a New York banker who longs to be on the stage. After a failed audition for Bela Zangler (implicative of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.) – played by Neil Ditt, Bobby is sent to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose on a failing theatre. Eager to avoid his fiancée of 5 years, Irene Roth (Claire Sweeney), Bobby arrives and is struck by the love-at-first-sight plague when he meets Polly Baker (Charlotte Wakefield) who immediately takes a disliking to him, a storyline which is familiar in the golden age musical. Bobby takes on the challenge to save the theatre by suggesting to put on an extravagant show with the local cowboys and the New York Zangler Follies, disguising himself as Zangler, he stops at nothing to win Polly’s heart.
Remarkably cheesy, this production creates the contemporary within the classic ideal of the musical. Paul Hart’s ingenious decision to have the instruments played on stage by the cast brings this 1990s production to the present day. Taken with a pinch of salt, the storyline is bearable and updated through Tom Chamber’s charming and hilarious take on Bobby. His tongue-in-cheek approach makes him immediately likeable and allows the audience to root for him from the beginning. Charlotte Wakefield is fierce and sassy as Polly, who is evocative of the modern independent woman. Her rendition of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ is a wonderful vulnerable moment amidst her hard exterior.
Whilst the dialogue in this show might be a little lack-lustre at times, the music along with the brilliant choreography by Nathan M Wright revives it entirely. The dance numbers are all performed with high energy, the tapping is especially glorious. There are many twists and turns throughout the plot, and some of it feels a little fussy, but Bobby and Polly’s growing love/hate relationship is hilarious and a joy to watch. Chambers is the star of this show and the production is a winner. It’s corny and it’s classic, and the whole cast works incredibly hard throughout. Ultimately it won’t change the world, but it will bring a certain sparkle to your day.
Catch Crazy For You at the Marlowe Theatre until 20th January 2018. The tour continues through to 9th June 2018.