Crazy For You

“A fantastic spectacle of a show"

Based on the 1930 George and Ira Gershwin musical ‘Girl Crazy’ this revival has swept into London’s West End with all the gusto of a tap dancing showgirl. Making the Gillian Lynne Theatre it’s home following a successful run in Chichester ‘Crazy for You’ is a delightfully bubbly old style musical.

The story is not one that will break ground but it’s a charming farce that brings delight to the audience. We follow Bobby Child on his mission to achieve his dream of being a dancer in the Zangler Follies.  He moves to a desolate western town ‘Deadrock’ where he meets a vast array of fun characters. Love is the main theme here and there are some wonderful fun moments throughout. The story isn’t really what’s important in this show though, it’s the dancing that is the real star. Director and Choreographer Susan Stroman has done an exceptional job with this show, giving us the big glitzy group numbers, smaller intimate ballroom routines and inventive routines that elicit gasps of amazement from the audience. The ‘Mirror Movement’ scene between Boddy and Zangler (Tom Edden) in particular is very clever and well directed, a wonder to watch with both actors moving perfectly in sync.

Charlie Stemp is our leading man ‘Bobby Child’ and this really feels like a part that was written for him. He is outstanding in this role and I see many, many, many award nominations in his future (will this finally be the role that gets him the much coveted Olivier award?...I think so!). Charlie is a sublime character actor, with incredible dance skills and a beautiful voice he is the definition of a ‘Triple Threat’. Reminiscent of Norman Wisdom, Charlie has a fantastic understanding of his body and expressions, the comedic timing is perfection and well executed.

The role of leading lady Polly Baker is beautifully portrayed by Carly Anderson who’s talent is awe-inspiring. Her rendition of ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ is wonderful, this gives Carly a chance to show off her exceptional singing voice as well as her fantastic acting skills.

This really is an ensemble piece, with all members of the cast having their moments to shine, especially in the large dance numbers we are treated to some incredible movement skills by everyone on stage. In particular the Act 1 closing number ‘I Got Rhythm’ is world class, the standing ovation tells you all you need to know about this number and the ticket price is worth it for that song alone!

This is undoubtedly a contender for the ‘Best Revival’ category when awards season comes around, and would be a deserving winner of all awards it qualifies for. It’s a fantastic spectacle of a show, with huge group dance numbers, glitzy big budget costumes and wonderful songs we all know and love ‘Who could ask for anything more’. A must see for any musical theatre fan!

This show was reviewed on the 3rd July 2023.  Crazy For You runs at the Gillian Lynne Theatre until the 20th January 2024.  Tickets available here: Crazy For You | Gillian Lynne Theatre (lwtheatres.co.uk)

Review written by Rosie Browne

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Photo credit: Johan Persson

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