Crazy For You at The Orchard Theatre
Crazy For You:
Crazy for You is a musical from the golden age, written by the Gershwin brothers and originally named ‘Girl Crazy.’ It tells of Bobby Child who works in a bank under his mother’s orders but dreams of being on stage. He gets sent to Deadwood by his mother to try and foreclose a property however when he gets there he meets Polly Baker who is determined to save the building. The building is of course an old theatre but now used as a post office. Bobby comes up with the idea of putting a show on but when Polly discovers Bobby is from the bank she doesn’t want to know. What ensues is a case of mistaken identity, love and a whole lot of tap dancing.
This is a heart warming nostalgic show. Even if you don’t know the show itself you will know the music with a huge amount of Gershwin’s catalogue crammed in, including ‘Shall We Dance?’ ‘ Embraceable You,’ ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ and ‘I’ve Got Rhythm.’ You can’t help but enjoy these classic songs, especially when performed so well by the cast. The characters are often lacking in depth and the plot at points does drag, especially as the conclusion is predictable. It could have done with loosing some of the lesser known Gershwin numbers, of which there are many.
The show is performed by some jaw droppingly talented performers. Not only are they all great singers, actresses and dancers but many of them play an instrument throughout the show AND tap! Often an actor musician performance in a dance show can distract from the dance itself but in this case it luckily didn’t happen and instead I was left to marvel how they had air left to breathe after a tap number, lt alone have the puff to play the saxophone. The choreography by Nathan M Wright is fun and in keeping with the time. The tap is a choreographic highlight, especially in ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’ when they are tapping on all available surfaces. He also makes effective use of the fact that his ensemble are often required to be holding, if not playing their instrument during the dance.
Tom Chambers took on the role of Bobby Child. His physicality in the role was well suited to the character, being able to fling himself around the stage at the same time as playing a believable romantic lead. Seren Sandham-Davis was on for Polly. She succeeded in getting the audience on her side within moments of her appearing on stage with her feisty yet loveable personality. The highlights however were where when Chambers and Sandham-Davis were dancing together, reminding me of just why Chambers won Strictly.
Crazy for You is a show that whilst being thin on plot and character is big on escapism. Harking back to the ‘golden era’ where tap and ballroom reigns supreme this is a nostalgic show which certainty delivers on this.
Find out more about the tour on their website.