Crazy For You is a dysfunctional love story between Bobby (Tom Chambers), a wannabe performer in New York and Polly (Charlotte Wakefield), the only woman left in the slumbering town of Deadrock, Nevada.
As the son of a wealthy banker, Bobby is forced to foreclose the failing theatre in Deadrock. Little does he know the love of his life, Polly, owns the very same establishment he is tasked to shut down. He decides to help save the Theatre to prove his love to her, until things take an unusual turn.
Worryingly, the opening ten minutes of the show lacked energy as Chambers was a surprisingly dull leading man. He pressed his voice and acted as if performing to camera. Luckily the Follies made their entrance and introduced some glamour, whilst the Cowboys added some light entertainment. Their amateur dramatic gun fight was particularly funny.
Thankfully Tom did turn it around once he adopted his new and absurd persona to impress Polly; Bela Zangler the Hungarian theatre owner. He hammed the role up perfectly and brought most of the comedy gold, punching the narrative with one liners that could rival that of my dad’s. It was such a sharp contrast to his leading man. He even said at one point, ‘I’m much better at playing Zangler’. This is either a hugely coincidental line, or a cleverly placed skit. I hope it’s the latter.
Leading lady Charlotte Wakefield is an incredible power house and belted her crisp voice around the auditorium. Polly was brought up among a herd of men so Wakefield played this suitably stubborn and furiously feisty. She brought a pinch of star quality to the performance and boosted the energy of songs, many of which I didn’t leave humming, other than of course ‘I Got Rhythm’.
Crazy For You is dubbed a romantic comedy but I didn’t see any evidence of the former. However, I did enjoy their argumentative nature instead of the usual swooning druel. Chambers and Wakefield also delight with their choreography as they tapped with style and swayed with class. Did I see a twinkle of Astaire and Ginger magic in there?
The real USP of this Musical is something the Theatre announce before curtains up. All the music is performed live on stage. Each musician/performer play multiple instruments that are seamlessly woven into the action. Singing, dancing, acting and playing simultaneously is made to look like a walk in the park. They prove to be some serious triple threats and more some.
It was the pre-interval scene that was a true stroke of genius. The whole cast delivered a funky jamming session, dancing with the melodies and playing with the rifts. Every object was an instrument from banging the stage to drumming their feet. This playful and quirky arrangement was without a doubt the highlight of the show.
Understandably the live instruments do not create the power you’d expect from a full orchestra in the pit, but don’t let that put you off. If anything, it creates a beautiful, raw and organic sound reminiscent of the old West, making it feel like a much more intimate gig.
Crazy For You is bursting with a mighty talented cast and packs a surprising amount of comedy. It was a slow burner that once ignited, lit up the stage. If you’re looking for a show to warm you heart and charm your soul, then this is for you!
Crazy For You is on in Manchester until Saturday 2nd December and will no doubt tour near you soon!
Image Credit: British Theatre Guide, The Other Richard firstname.lastname@example.org