I enjoy a good musical and tend to feel inspired by an old-timey one. Having not been to a show for a while, I was very much looking forward to the performance of Crazy For You at the Norwich Theatre Royal.
Tom Chambers and Caroline Flack were the big names of this production. I am always a little sceptical when a show has been star cast, which I felt may have happened here with the casting of Flack. Unfortunately, though, Flack had to pull out days prior to the performance due to illness, so I cannot comment on her ability. However, I did enjoy the Gershwin musical which enjoyed a fantastic opening night.
Crazy For You tells a story of a wannabe dancer trying to make it in 1930s New York just after the Great Depression. Bobby Child (Tom Chambers) makes his way to Nevada with the ultimate aim of escaping to New York, intending to force the owners of the Gaiety Theatre, Polly Baker (Charlotte Wakefield), to sign their property over to the bank; but Bobby has other ideas.
He inspires the town to put on a show by mimicking Bela Zangler (Neil Ditt), which resulted in a lot of laughs throughout the performance. That is not to say that Bobby became slightly irritating at times, which frustrated me, but was ultimately, I think, intended.
The comic timing in Crazy For You was on point, just enough so that it didn’t ever feel too over the top. Tom Chambers and Neil Ditt had a great scene where they mirrored each other throughout, which ended with a cheesy “I’m besides myself,” causing the theatre to erupt with laughter. There was also wonderful dancing throughout, which did not surprise me. After all, Tom Chambers did win Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.
A little confusion, though, was added by the inclusion of two Brits who were writing “a guide to the South”, perhaps intended to add some depth to the storyline and provide more comedy. I did not see them as a necessity to the plot and found their scene slightly odd and out of place.
The star of the show was the onstage live music – it was incredible and appreciated, adding another dimension to the story and the dance sequences. Some of the more upbeat songs, I Got Rhythm and Stuff Upper Lip, got my feet tapping along.
I did feel as though the ending was rather predictable; most musicals end with the boy and the girl and a happily ever after, after all. However, the spectacular final scene allowed the performance to end on a glamourous note. Bobby’s proposal to Polly was a particularly sweet moment.
I would happily see another performance of Crazy For You, but I am just as happy to be sat in front of a film version and listen to the show tunes it’s definitely a classic.
Crazy For You is being performed at Norwich Theatre Royal October 31st-November 4th