REVIEW: CRAZY FOR YOU (Milton Keynes Theatre) ★★★

There seems to be a craze currently for churning out the old musicals; some like Half a Sixpence get a bit of an update and become just as popular, if not more so than the original. Others just don’t quite seem to hit the spot.

Crazy For You originally opened on Broadway in 1930 under the name a Girl Crazy launching the career of Ginger Rogers and cementing the Gershwins’ place in the Hall of Musical Theatre Fame. However, it was not until the 1990s when it received a revamp and became the show we know today.

Bobby (Tom Chambers) is engaged to Irene (Claire Sweeney), but he just wants to dance. When he is sent to a small town out west, he falls for tomboy Polly (Charlotte Wakefield), the only girl in the village… add in some mistaken identity and you have a show.

The issue with this show is that it has a nice collection of popular songs, such as I Got Rhythm, I Can’t Be Bothered Now and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, but it still feels a bit flat. The story is so predictable, it almost feels like there’s no point staying for the second half. Each time a popular song comes on, the atmosphere changes and it offers a glimmer of excitement, but in-between these moments, it’s actually quite dull.

The set design (Diego Pitarch) is lovely and the choreography by Nathan M Wright is good, although the only one who seems challenged is Tom Chambers – the rest of the cast have quite simplistic routines (although they are well executed).

What really stands out, is the ensemble, who not only act, sing and dance, but also make up part of the orchestra, playing musical instruments live on stage. Ned Rudkins-Stow and Seren Sandham-Davies almost steal the show as Moose and Patsy, and the chemistry, enthusiasm and characterisation of the supporting cast are fantastic.

Chambers and Wakefield are both excellent performers, but compared to some of their previous roles, where they really shone, there is nothing to write home about.

That said, it’s a nice show and there are moments of humour and delight on offer. But overall, it’s disappointing.

Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes

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