Crazy For You – Bristol Hippodrome REVIEW

Honestly? I couldn’t think of how to start this review so here is a one line summary to get us started… A lighthearted, feel good musical with a slight pantomime feel that is bound to make you want to take up a tap dancing class. 

The musical revolves around the music written by the legendary Gershwin Brothers. George and Ira Gershwin’s iconic sound carried the evening with highlights of Irreplaceable You and of course, I’ve Got Rhythm. The Brothers timeless songs, with the exception of a few were made unmemorable by average choreography and forgettable direction. 

The plot was weak and incohesive. Many elements of the story felt unnecessary and muddled, although I cannot speak for Ken Ludwig’s book. Some songs felt unexplained and a little flat, team this with a disappointing ending, it seems Ken Ludwig’s writing and Paul Hart’s direction wasn’t a match made in heaven.

3. CRAZY FOR YOU. Tom Chambers 'Bobby' and Company. Richard Davenport.

On to the positive… Tom Chambers was a strong lead, typically torn between his mother guidance and the love his life. He had clearly studied his character in depth and despite being an actor known for Father Brown, Holby City and Casualty he took to the stage especially well. His high energy uplifted the show and he never failed to make the audience laugh. 

Charlotte Wakefield was only slightly second to Tom as Bobby with her Calamity Jane-esque character who runs the town of Dead Rock. Her sassy independent nature was a breath of fresh air amongst the misogynistic cowboys and stereotypical type casts.

10. CRAZY FOR YOU. Charlotte Wakefield 'Polly'. Photo Richard Davenport

TV Presenter Caroline Flack plays the part of Irene, the whiny, ball and chain love interest of Bobby at the beginning of the production. Sadly, the celebrity in the production lets it down again. Caroline Flack is awkward, wooden and painful to watch. Think it’s best she sticks to presenting Love Island. It also annoyed me that Caroline and her character Irene were relatively minor in the production yet had a big role in advertising.

I was thrilled to see that tap dancing was the main style featured in this 1920s musical. It’s a particular favourite of mine and is a rare find amongst mainstream theatre. Tom was sharp and quick footed tapping about the stage and Charlotte kept up well. The pair elevated the numbers with fancy footwork that is by no means for the faint hearted. However the dancing from the ensemble was nondescript and not up to scratch.

Crazy For You UK Tour Photo Credit : The Other Richard

As I have mentioned a few times in previous reviews the trend of on-stage bands and orchestra’s has returned. It obviously saves the production a lot of money and also seems to amaze the audience that the cast are incredibly multi-talented. Don’t get me wrong, it is impressive but I am starting to notice a problem with this formula. The ensemble used in ‘Crazy for you’ were lacking in other areas as they needed to meet the criteria of being a musician. The ensemble consisted more of musicians that could sing and dance rather than singers and dancers that could play an instruments. I am sure there are a fair few 4. CRAZY FOR YOU. Company. Photo Richard Davenportpeople that will totally disagree with me on this and it may be a topic for a whole separate blog post… It also tended to feel a little invasive having an whole 10 piece band staring into centre stage as a powerful solo is being performed or the main couple are having a romantic moment.

As you can probably tell a rather mixed review. I won’t be rushing back but will take my hat off to Tom and Charlotte for a stand up performance.

Safe to say I’m not crazy for it.

 

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