The one where a man wants to quit banking to be a dancer?
Bobby Child played by Sean Palmer is the young man with a dream to ditch working in banking and be the star of the stage dancing. Work however, the preferred occupation of his mother, played by the wonderful Harriet Thorpe, send him to Nevada to take possession of The Gaiety Theatre as payments by Polly Baker played by Clare Foster had not been kept.
Fortunately for Polly, Bobby’s passion for the theatre and his wannabe dream of being a dancer take’s over as well as his desire for her affections. Through various twists and turns he poses as theatre producer Bela Zangler to put on the show, and win over Polly’s heart but all comes to close to unravelling as the real Bela Zangler played by David Burt comes to town, followed closely by his mother.
Crazy for you is very much a play of will they won’t they… of course they will. Written by George and Ira Gershwin with book by Ken Ludwig the piece is very in keeping with the style of the era. Lavish productions with lots of show girls, but many of the references of the producers of theatre along with the life of an actor are still as true today as they have ever been. I wouldn’t be surprised if down the line Bela Zangler becomes Cameron Mackintosh.
Practically all the songs in this production are well known. Thanks to the charm and stand alone quality of these numbers by Gershwin, the audience are practically singing along to numbers such as I got Rhythm, Slap that Bass, Embraceable You and a superb rendition of Someone to Watch over me, by Clare Foster.
As with any production of the era though, it is the choreography that hands down steal this show. Stephen Mear had his work cut out with a show that has number after number of the most infectious tap routines, I am happy to say with a cast of over 20 filling the stage, and great to report of all shapes and sizes rather than the skinny boy stereotypes across the West End, Mear’s has created dance that you cannot help but be in awe of. The rousing company numbers along with the more subtle duets of Foster and Palmer really do give a variety to the piece and showcase the talent on stage. Theatre such as this, and the recent revival of Singin In the Rain are what the term Triple Threat is all about, as these talented casts sing, act and tap the hell out of the West End.
My only complaint is that, as expected in a Gershwin musical, the piece is just that bit too long, with the second half starting to lose its way a little, but generally the energy of the performance keeps you gripped, with many an audience member showing how little rhythm they hold clapping out of time at the end.
A delicious treat on the unknown arrival of Harriet Thorpe on stage made this evening of camp entertainment complete and a nice trip down to a time gone by. With the Shrek’s and Legally Blondes of the world performing you’d be forgiven for proclaiming… “they don’t make them like that anymore”