CRAZY FOR YOU – Newbury

In Musicals, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

★★
Watermill Theatre, Newbury – until 17 September 2016

Crazy For You is a musical drawn up by Ken Ludwig in the 1990’s and broadly based on the Gershwins’ Broadway foray Girl Crazy from some 60 years earlier. While the show’s narrative may hang on a story that lacks both consequence and credibility, it does comprise some of the 20th century’s finest songs, along with the opportunity for some spectacular dance routines.

The Watermill has cast the show perfectly, with Tom Chambers and Caroline Sheen leading the company. But whilst the theatre may have landed one of musical theatre’s finest male dancers, unfortunately the venue’s flat performing space (there is no raised stage) means that most of Chambers’ fleet-footed brilliance is invisible to anyone in the stalls who’s had the misfortune to be sat behind the front two rows. The tap dances choreographed by Nathan M Wright sound terrific for sure – but in row 7 one barely catches a glimpse.

The acting is strong throughout, with some fine moments of physical comedy too, but where this production excels in in its treatment of the classic songs. Sheen’s character Polly is given the lion’s share of the Gershwin greats and she delivers them with excellence and flair. Her interpretations of Someone To Watch Over Me, Embraceable You and the heartbreaking But Not