Crazy For You – Review – Leeds Grand
Crazy For You – Review
Leeds Grand, August 2017
by Sandra Callard
George and Ira Gershwin wrote Girl Crazy in 1930. Like many long running shows it has experienced numerous transformations on stage and film over the years. After showing somewhere in the world for over 80-years it has now renamed itself Crazy For You and reached the Grand Theatre in Leeds on a new British tour.
Tom Chambers plays Bobby Child with startling enthusiasm, and in spite of his mother, girlfriend and colleagues rubbishing his talent he still wants to put on a show, so he ends up somewhere in America’s West and decides to try his luck there.
Chambers is a perfectly adequate dancer, a good actor and presents well on stage, but doesn’t have the slick polish needed for a professional and convincing song and dance man. He has some of the world’s best songs at his fingertips, but just misses out on making them sound as great as they are. However, his performance of ‘What Causes That?’ with producer Bela Zangler, (a neat execution from Neil Ditt) is clever and funny, and I warm to Chambers considerably.
“All the right ingredients”
Bobby falls for cowgirl Polly, who Charlotte Wakefield brings to life brilliantly. Wakefield has a strong voice and does justice to the Gershwin tunes, particularly ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ and ‘But Not For Me’. Her relationship with Bobby has the usual musical misunderstandings before she finally sees the light, and she carries the storyline well, flimsy though it is.
Caroline Flack, who plays Bobby’s girlfriend, Irene Roth, and whom he attempts to evade at every opportunity, is almost subsidiary to the plot. After her spectacular win on Strictly Come Dancing she is now a proven dancer, but unfortunately never seems to have the opportunity to show this to any extent. She has only one good number when she performs ‘Naughty Baby’ to Lank (Christopher Fry), which she does very effectively. But it still gives her little scope to show her obvious dancing talent. Perhaps choreographer Nathan M Wright, has missed a trick here.
Retro-styled musicals are ten-a-penny at the moment, with few new and original shows being produced. The old favourites last because they are intrinsically good, with classic tunes and spectacular dancing. This particular show has all the ingredients for a smash hit; Gershwin tunes that are as good as you get, actors and dancers who are at the top of their trees, and a talented and hard working supporting cast, but despite all the right elements being in place, I somehow really can’t go crazy for Crazy For You.
images: The Other Richard