Crazy For You / our review

brilliant ENGAGING Fun

Jul 18th, 2023

Kitty

Kitty

If you’re looking for a night of spectacle, sequins and silliness where you can check your brain at the door, Crazy For You is the one for you.

Charlie Stemp once more proves himself one of the West End's most capable performers in this delightful production, now showing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre following a smash-hit tryout at Chichester Festival Theatre.

With music by George and Ira Gershwin, Crazy For You is written by Ken Ludwig and created by Ludwig and Mike Ockrent (in turn Inspired by material by Guy Bolton and John McGowan). As it begins, we find Stemp as Bobby Child, a 1930s rich boy banker with dreams of stardom. 

 More content to hang around the backstage of the Zangler Follies than do his day job, he finds himself a captive audience when he's sent to foreclose on a run-down theatre in a small town in the middle of the still quite Wild West. At first given the cold shoulder, it's not long until his fancy feet and love songs win over the townsfolk, who eagerly join his harebrained scheme to put on a show with the Zangler Follies to save the day. Unamused though, is Carly Anderson as Polly, the town's only woman, but it only takes a thin (and very funny) disguise to get her on board. Delightful chaos ensues.

The plot may be thin as muslin, as it is in many musical classics, however Crazy For You isn't a serious show, but serious talent has gone into making this an escapist spectacular.

It glitters, taps, and jokes its way into your heart, with the Gershwins' best songs, incredible and intricately choreographed dance sequences (tremendously realised by choreographer and director Susan Stroman in her West End debut), silly dad jokes, wonderful sets, costumes and more. A Shout out to Ken Billington for their beautifully conceived lighting design that does more than any big-budget set at creating an out-of-time atmosphere.

 My only bug bear was Polly's costumes. While Anderson is delightful as the spirited post-girl and Bobby's love interest, she seems to be dressing from the 1970s, not the 30s. In the context of the Zangler Follies, who are kitted out fantastically 1930s style both on and 'off' stage, it is a little bit jarring. But my own costume nitpicking aside, it's a minor blip in this brilliant show, and aside from Anderson, there are marvellous performances from all, with highlights coming from Tom Edden as the hilarious Bela Zangler and Natalie Kassanga as Bobby's unamused fiance, alongside Rina Fatania and Sam Harrison as scene-stealing English tourists.

But the real star is undoubtedly Charlie Stemp. Once more displaying his impeccable dancing, singing and acting talents with magnetic likability.  Be he gliding and leaping across the stage, tap dancing on a tray, clowning or serenading, he is just a joy to watch at the centre of this joyous watch. 

Back in 2016 when he starred, fresh out of drama school, in Half A Sixpence, another Chichester production, I declared a star was born. I'm glad to report, it's still shining brightly!

View our show pages for more information about Crazy For You, Gillian Lynne Theatre.

Crazy For You, Gillian Lynne Theatre, London

Crazy For You

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Gillian Lynne Theatre: Closed Jan 20, 2024

There's nothing like a bombastic bobby dazzling Broadway musical to raise spirits and this homegrown production from Susan Stroman is here to prove just that! Premiering at the esteemed Chichester Festival...more info

Book TicketsBook tickets for Crazy For You, Gillian Lynne Theatre, London

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