Crazy For You has a sweet premise: Romantic wannabe dancer Bobby Child is sent by his domineering mother to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose the town’s only theatre. The owner of the theatre, of course, is the father of the girl Bobby instantly falls in love with. Polly, the only girl in the village, is having none of it… that is, until Bobby disguises himself as theatre impresario Bela Zangler and promises to help put on a show that will earn enough money to restore the theatre to its former glory. An almost forgettable role in all this is Child’s fiance Irene Roth. So forgettable, in fact, it begs the question why Caroline Flack has been cast in such a small, irritating little role. Even more so… why has her name been trumpeted as a star of this show, when she doesn’t even show a twinkle of star quality?
Leading man Tom Chambers as Bobby Child is an odd choice. He doesn’t have much appeal and his dancing leaves a lot to be desired. Same goes for Charlotte Wakefield as Polly Baker. Singing? Tick. Acting? Tick. Dancing… sorta tick. The only members of the cast I’m really impressed by are the chorus, who hold the show up whilst also playing the role of live band. Having live music on stage in such an inventive way is a lovely addition, but I fear it does come as a sacrifice to pure acting and dancing talent they could have cast… if only the actor/actress could play a trumpet.
The acting, directed by Paul Hart, is a little pantomimic at times, though somehow manages to fall flat also. The choreography by Nathan M Wright is intricate and enjoyable. However, something about this production just doesn’t flow. The set, designed by Diego Pitarch, seems slightly clunky and scene transitions aren’t seamless – they’re quite obvious and a little messy at times.
It’s an enjoyable show with some catchy tunes such as I Got Rhythm and They Can’t Take That Away From Me. However, credit for the music must go to George and Ira Gershwin rather than reflecting the talent or finesse of this particular production. It’s a pleasant evening out, particularly for fans of musicals of that era.
Catch Crazy For You at Leeds Grand Theatre until 2nd September.