Crazy For You Review | Palace Theatre | Manchester
Based on the 1930’s musical, Girl Crazy, this Tony Award winning script has been revived by Paul Hart for an earthy rendition of the old-school Hollywood hit. Based between New York and the sleepy town of Deadrock Nevada, a catalogue of Gershwin songs capture the passion of performing, in an upbeat production baring behind the theatre curtain.
Bobby Child (Tom Chambers) is the son of a banking family and a wannabe showman. Failing to light New York ablaze with his toe-tapping skills, Bobby opts to help his mother foreclose on a theatre in Nevada. Whilst in Bedrock he falls for the pretty Polly (Charlotte Wakefield), whose father owns the failing Everett theatre. Although Polly resists the “bankers” advances, Bobby disguises himself as a popular producer, Bela Zangler in order to try his luck again. His disguise comes complete with a questionable accent (possibly Hungarian, possibly German) as he puts on a play to save the old theatre and his new love.
The shows rustic staging tightly packs the supporting cast who outperform the material with phenomenal musical feats. The cast switch impressively between dancing, singing and playing multiple instruments in a light-hearted production that includes a multitude of props and difficult choreography. In one musical number, the cast actually play their saxophone, trumpet and plethora of other instruments whilst lying on the floor, using their feet as props.
There are also enjoyable physical performances by Chambers who drunkenly stumbles from the first-floor level staging to an audience members seat. However, the narrative isn’t quite as organic. With a story so farfetched, a lax timeline and frustratingly flimsy characters, it fails to convince of the immense allure of the stage. Taking a nostalgic look at the golden age of Hollywood also includes painfully dated jokes and long-winded routines that don’t always pay off.
After leaving New York the audience are stranded in Nevada, with little sense of Hollywood glamour until its final performance. With little also sticking the scenes together, the live musical direction is the winning feature of this dividing production.