This is certainly a musical that leave you beaming from start to finish.

(c)Johan Persson

Transferring from the Chichester Festival Theatre, Susan Stroman’s production is of the highest quality from start to finish and proving a fantastic vehicle for Charlie Stemp to once again to show off his fantastic dancing skills.

Set during the Great Depression, the story follows that of Bobby Child who dreams of going into show business but works in banking and is sent to Deadrock in Navada by his headstrong mother to foreclose theatre. But when on arrival, he meets and falls for Polly, whose father is in charge of the theatre, and decides to try and save it. Of course along the way, there are plenty of misunderstandings – but naturally music of the highest quality to push the story along.

Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, it is a light and breezy production with some absolutely incredible choreography – particularly during numbers such as ‘ I Got Rhythm’ with all the dazzle that you would want, the gorgeous glamour and elegance of ‘Shall We Dance?’ and the vibrancy of ‘Slap That Bass’ . Once again, Stroman shows great versatility in terms of the way in which she blends styles of dancing. But as a director, she also excels at highlighting the comedy to be found in Ken Ludwig’s book that keeps the audience invested in all of the characters and the slightly ludicrous (but always fun) story that they embark on.

The whole show looks and feels as though it is reliving the golden age of musicals and show business, thanks to William Ivey Long’s elegant costume design, the softness but playfulness to Ken Billington’s lighting design as seen during plenty of sequences such as ‘Things Are Looking Up’ or ‘What Causes That?’ which are two particularly fun moments in the show. Beowulf Boritt’s set design is effortless in the way it changes from location to location, feeling very nostalgic and yet still giving enough room for the choreography in the musical numbers to breathe.

Some might argue that the flimsiness of the plot is a weakness but personally I found it enjoyable as it blends itself well into the musical numbers and creates a wonderful sense of escapism that is very much needed in the grimness of the world at the moment. The physical comedy as well as some standout lines in the script ensures that you will certainly leave the theatre beaming.

The cast themselves are a joy to watch. Naturally at the centre of this is Charlie Stemp as Bobby, whose cheeky charm and incredible sense of physical comedy once again makes him a joy to behold – as is the ease and style in which he dances his way around the stage. He is well matched with Carly Anderson as Polly, whose sassiness is a lovely foil for Bobby but also there is a lovely vulnerability about her, having been so sheltered from the world away from Deadrock – particularly in the way in which she performs ‘But Not For Me’ . Tom Edden as Bela Zangler has a wonderful flamboyancy about him that is delightful to watch. The entire ensemble work really well together to ensure that the production moves with grace and elegance.

For anyone who loves a musical set in a bygone era, filled with glamour and cheesy but good fun plot then I must recommend a visit to the Gillian Lynne Theatre to see this production of Crazy For You which throws everything at the audience to make sure they have an entertaining experience.

By Emma Clarendon

Crazy For You continues to play at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. To book tickets click here.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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