Crazy for You UK Tour – The Mayflower Theatre until 25th November

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Review by Soraya Scrivener

After a successful run at the Watermill Theatre last Summer, Crazy For You is now amid its UK Tour. A rom-com, feel-good musical, featuring a fabulous score from the Gershwin brothers. It includes a plethora of loveable tunes such as I Got Rhythm, Shall We Dance and Embraceable You. The story follows Bobby Child, a wealthy New York banker with a dream of being a Broadway star and Polly Baker, the feisty daughter of a failing theatre proprietor in the sleepy town of Deadrock, Nevada. Bobby, sent by his over-bearing Mother to close the theatre down, falls for Polly and decides to save the theatre by putting on a show in the guise of Hungarian producer Bela Zangler. Show girls meet cowboys in this musical romp packed full of cheesy gags.

Photo Credit : The Other Richard

This is a new scaled down version with a talented cast of only 18 but with the fabulous set they pack the stage well. Recently, Sister Act the Musical put me off the trend for actor-musicians, but it impresses here with no orchestra in the pit even as back up and the whole cast except the two leads play multiple instruments throughout the evening. To perform a show and simultaneously play Gershwin off by heart is admirable and is the productions greatest strength. Sadly, it is also its greatest weakness for someone who is familiar with the big dance numbers of previous Olivier Award-winning West End Productions. Not the Quadruple threat I was expecting as the five dancing-girls and ensemble with their instruments were limited more to movement than dance. I was glad the two leads danced splendidly instrument free.

Photo Credit : The Other Richard

Perfectly cast as Bobby, Tom Chambers is most remembered for winning Strictly Come Dancing and his Olivier Award nominated role in Top Hat. Yet again he is the charming leading man and plays this giddy, amusing character with such enthusiasm. He is a joy to watch and can be forgiven for unfortunately struggling vocally during the 2nd act of this performance. The only slight niggle was that he seemed to look down a lot when he was dancing. My favourite moment was when Chambers had a little section in I Got Rhythm which reminded me of his Fred Astaire recreation tap dancing with drums. Look it up on You Tube, it’s amazing!

Charlotte Wakefield plays an outstanding Polly. Olivier Award nominated twice already for ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ for her roles of Wendla in Spring Awakening and Maria in The Sound of Music, she has also played iconic roles such as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Sophie in Mamma Mia. Wakefield has a sensational voice. Her Someone to Watch Over Me was sublime and But Not for Me gave me goose bumps. Her acting and dancing a triumph too. Who could ask for anything more?

Photo Credit : The Other Richard

I particularly enjoyed the comical mirror scene and What Causes That duet between Neil Ditt as Bela Zangler and Chambers also dressed as Zangler. During the show there was some fantastic edge of the seat moments. You could hear the audience gasp, as Chambers jumped from a platform. Perhaps a few too many risks were taken as items were dropped during the show. I’m sure this wasn’t a usual occurrence.

In summary, Director Paul Hart and his team treat us to a great evening’s entertainment. The high energy cast put a spring in my step and I am still humming the memorable tunes.

At the Mayflower until Saturday and continuing its tour until June 2018 at Manchester, Liverpool, Canterbury, Dartford, Malvern, Wycombe, Truro, Ipswich, Llandudno, London, Milton Keynes, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Bradford, Sunderland, Swansea, Wolverhampton, Woking, Leicester Curve. Clare Sweeney will step into the role of Irene, Bobby’s fiancée from the 16th of January 2018.

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