Crazy for You
A Gershwin Brothers Musical
The Watermill Theatre production of Crazy for You is a high energy, feel-good musical that follows Bobby Child’s dream of dancing in a stage show, which takes him to the unlikely town of Deadrock, Nevada.
Initially sent to shut down the town’s theatre, Bobby falls for Polly, the proprietor’s daughter and, in the guise of a Hungarian impresario, decides to save the theatre by putting on a show.
The audience enjoys the touching highs and amusing lows of Polly and Bobby’s troubled love story, filled with mistaken identities, heartbreak and happiness. Crazy for You is a spectacle that showcases crowd-pleasing, memorable hits by the Gershwin brothers, including I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away from Me, Nice Work if you Can Get It and Embraceable You.
Now, this might be a controversial start for my review, but I must be honest and admit that I am not a big fan of musicals. As a result, I went along to Crazy for You at the Edinburgh Playhouse with some trepidation. However, the glamorous production filled with numerous memorable, classic songs swiftly eased my tensions and cynical thoughts.
The show’s performance of such exhilarating music as 1930s Gershwin hits bursts with life by having the cast play the instruments live on stage. Songs like Slap That Bass playfully showcase each cast member’s talents as they sing, dance, swap instruments and keep the audience engaged and entertained.
The humour can sometimes be witty and well-delivered, while at other turns it can be too cheesy and on-the-nose. Tom Chambers in the leading role demonstrates this mixed delivery as Bobby, who is a little showy and aiming for cheap laughs, whereas his time disguised as Zangler allows him to charm the audience and frequently received bouts of laughter. His drunken scene followed by his rendition of What Causes That? alongside Neil Ditt are especially amusing and impressive performances.
Although the trope of mistaken identity within a love story sounds fairly Shakespearean, the storyline is rather simplistic, but then it is not intended to be the main event. The use of a strong and funny supporting cast of Follies Girls and Cowboys and the impressive dance numbers they perform fill the void where substance may be lacking. For example, Claire Sweeney’s character Irene is somewhat entertaining, but her role within the plot is unconvincing and has no real effect on the storyline. Despite this, Sweeney commands attention during her performance of Naughty Baby; a sultry, humorous song that stands out as one of the best in the show.
Crowd-favourites such as Embraceable You and They Can’t Take That Away from Me go down well, but the show-stoppers include the beautifully performed Shall We Dance?. Tom Chambers and Charlotte Wakefield as Bobby and Polly have great chemistry when dancing together and this is best proven in the playful way they tease one another during this song, culminating in a stunning sequence in front of stars and amongst dry ice, creating a weightlessness to their movements. Wakefield’s solo performance of Someone to Watch Over Me allows her to reveal her powerful voice, while I Got Rhythm is an extremely fun and energetic ending to the first half. The show’s finale assembles the strengths of the cast to create a picture-perfect finish that leaves the audience smiling.
Overall, the show is extremely fun and allows the audience to enjoy the range of talents the cast has to offer. The setting and live music will transport you to a time of creative expression during the Depression, and the humour and fantastic dance numbers will be the perfect entertainment for the Easter holidays.
Review by Kim Ford on behalf of Love Books Group
| Booking Information |
Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre
4 Apr – 7 Apr
0844 871 3014