crazy cast

Crazy For You

Birmingham Hippodrome


This is one of those shows were everyone goes home happy with a smile on their face, a night of happy, unassuming, entertainment and fun.

It is a throwback to those romantic comedy Broadway musicals of the 30s and 40s with plenty of laughs, a bit of corn, plenty of music and dancing and a simple plot you just have to accept and not examine too closely.

In this case rich banker’s son Bobby Child desperately wants to be a song and dance man with Bella Zanglers follies, but can’t convince Bella he is worth a try, while his rich fiancé Irene – not his choice - wants him to settle down as a banker, while his banker mother, to get him back on the straight and . . . well, boring, sends him off to Deadrock in the back end of nowhere in Nevada, an hour’s walk from the nearest rail halt, to effect a foreclosure. And the foreclosure in on . . . a theatre. Can you see where this is going.

Tom Chambers is a personable Bobby with plenty of funny asides. Over the years Chambers has transformed from an actor who could tap, to a tap dancer who can act. His dancing is slick and confident and these days looks quite effortless. Bobby might want to be a song and dance man but Chambers is well and truly there.

He is matched by Charlotte Wakefield who plays Polly, daughter of Everett Baker, played by Mark Sangster, owner of the run down, struggling Gaiety theatre. Bobby falls in love at first sight and why not. She is pretty, dances divinely, has a great voice and can act, so what’s not to love.

So Bobby, now with two loves, show business and Polly, sets about producing a show to save the Gaiety, with Zangler’s showgirls, led by dance director Tess, played by Hollie Cassar.  

bobby and Polly

Tom Chambers as Bobby and Charlotte Wakefield as Polly

Throw in confusion with the arrival of Neil Ditt as the Hungarian impresario Zangler, tension when unwanted fiancé Irene, played by Caroline Flack, pops up again, and pressure from Bobby’s stern banker mother, Lottie, played by Kate Milner-Evans and there is plenty to get your teeth into among the laid-back cowboys who spend their time re-enacting famous wild west gunfights as a tourist attraction for non-existent tourists.

Add to the mix Lank Hawkins who owns the saloon and hotel next door and wants to buy the theatre – and he also owns a gun which helps enforce his insistence that the show to save the theatre should not go ahead.

Mind you Link, played by Christopher Fry, might have had more chance stopping the show had he not played trombone, lightly disguised, in the Gaiety band.

The days of remembering words and not bumping into the furniture makes you an actor are long gone. These days you need to be able to act, sing, dance and play enough instruments to start your own orchestra.

It is a modern idea and means cowboys, showgirls – and grumpy hotel owners – grab instruments at the drop of a hat to become an excellent 16 strong band under off-stage musical director Benjamin Holder.

And music is the other star of the show, classics from George Gershwin with lyirics by his older brother Ira. The show opens with perhaps the most famous glissando in music, the solo clarinet opening of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Then we get classics from that golden age of the American Songbook such as Someone to Watch Over Me, Embraceable You, I got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away from Me and Nice Work if You can Get it.

The musical is a 1992 reworking of Gershwin’s Girl Crazy from 1930 with extra Gershwin numbers added and keeps that 1930’s happy go lucky feeling with a simple yet effective set from Diego Pitarch and entertaining choreography from Nathan M Wright.

Directed by Paul Hart the Hippodrome will be Crazy for You to 28-10-17

Roger Clarke


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