CRAZY FOR YOU
Music by George Gershwin lyrics by Ira Gershwin book by Ken Ludwig.
Novello Theatre Aldwych WC2B 4LD To 17 March 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu, Sat & 25 October 3pm.
Runs 2hr 35min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 482 5171.
Review: Carole Woddis 18 October.
Tap dance to die for, sensual delight.
In August, reviewsgate.com colleague William Russell hoped that this sparkling summer revival by the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre team would have an after-life.
Well, his wish came true. And here it is now sitting in W G R Sprague’s delicious Louis Quatorze proscenium theatre – the entire Regent’s Park cast in a perfect setting for a `let’s do the show right here’ musical comedy that somehow manages to combine all the combustion (and some of the Wild West campery) of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with the gleefulness and glamour of a Broadway musical.
As the overture begins, the theatre lights of famous Broadway theatres twinkle away and a gaggle of long-legged blonde chorus girls start to strut their stuff with accents taken straight out of 42nd Street, you know you’re in safe hands.
Even Peter McKintosh’s wooden stage design that Russell felt was the production’s one flaw comes good as an eminently flexible construction that can stand for a Broadway theatre facade, behind-the-scenes flats in a pokey provincial theatre and the inside of the saloon bar in Dead Rock, Nevada, scene of a typical – and very funny – Wild West dust-up.
True, though the pedigree is copper-bottomed – loosely based on George and Ira Gershwin’s 1930s musical Girl Crazy – there are some surprisingly duff numbers, whilst Ken Ludwig’s book is pure hokum and ends abruptly. Not until a good half hour in and `Someone to Watch Over Me’ steals up on us does melody take flight.
But that hardly matters. There are further classics to come and what keeps this production flying along is not only the sly tongue-in-cheek quality director Timothy Sheader brings to it, but Stephen Mear’s exuberant choreography, based on Susan Stroman’s original.
Above all it’s the cast who produce a tap-dancing display to die for, especially the Chorus girls, whose energy and explosive stamina never falters.
But from American import Sean Palmer to the UK’s own Clare Foster (leads Bobby Child and Polly Baker), through musical stalwarts David Burt as mitteleuropean impresario, Bela Zangler, to the entire company of drawlin’ cowboys and dumb blondes, Sheader’s production is a winner all the way. Completely life-enhancing.
Louise: Lucy Anderson.
Swing: Michelle Andrews.
Betsy: Jessica Buckby.
Bela Zangler: David Burt.
Swing: Stuart Dawes.
Mitzi; Cara Elston.
Elaine: Charlene Ford.
Polly Baker: Clare Foster.
Margie: Joanna Goodwin.
Susie: Amy Griffiths.
Patsy: Alexis Howen Hobbs.
Perkins/Jimmy/Eugene Fodor: Samuel Holmes.
Junior; Richard Jones.
Wyatt: Joshua Lacey.
Swing: Joshua Lay.
Everett Baker: Sidney Livingstone.
Lank Hawkins: Michael McKell.
Irene Roth: Kim Medcalf.
Vera: Jo Morris.
Sam; Harry Morrison.
Billy; James O’Connell.
Bobby Child; Sean Palmer.
Moose: Carl Sanderson.
Pete: Phil Snowden.
Swing: Holly Dale Spencer.
Tess: Rachel Stanley.
Lottie Child/ Patricia Fodor; Harriet Thorpe.
Mingo: Stephen Whitson.
Director: Timothy Sheader.
Designer/Costume: Peter McKintosh.
Lighting: Tim Mitchell.
Sound: Mike Walker.
Orchestrator: Chris Egan.
Dance Arrangements/Musical Supervisor: Gareth Valentine.
Musical Director: Stephen Ridley
Choreographer: Stephen Mear.
Fight director: Renny Krupinski.
Assistant designer: Simon Wells.
Assistant musical director: Mark Bousie.
Assistant choreographer: Jo Morris.