The current UK tour of Crazy for You is a Gershwin musical that follows the tale of a small town trying to save its theatre/ post office building from being taken back by the bank when they are no longer able to pay for the mortgage. When Bobby (Tom Chambers), son of the banking family but who also dreams of being on stage, goes to shut the theatre down he falls for Polly (Charlotte Wakefield) who is the daughter of the man who owns the theatre and this sets off a chain reaction of unlikely romances.
Charlotte Wakefield is undoubtedly the stand out of the show and it is criminal that she is billed lower than Caroline Flack in the press blurb. She is a wonderful stage presence who can belt out a good tune and completely engage the audience. Opposite her is Tom Chambers who does a great job acting and tapping his way through the show. The other big star is the aforementioned Caroline Flack who is just a small part but has fun with her limited stage time. The rest of the cast is also extremely talented and bring life to their smaller roles throughout.
The set is beautiful and allows the cast to perform on multiple levels which adds interest to the direction and there is clever use of animations to show the change in setting between New York and Deadrock, Nevada.
All this sounds very promising and it is a very well done musical but something was slightly lacking, the wow factor was just not there. I think this had something to do with the fact it was performed by actor-musicians. The cast also played all the music and it is truly incredible how they are able to switch between singing to playing an instrument whilst moving around the stage and interacting with the other characters and this way of staging a show seems to have become popular recently with pantos doing it and other big tours such as the Chess tour and more recently the Sister Act UK tour. It does feel somewhat distracting as an audience member though when you spend more time watching how many instruments one person can master rather than focusing on the action happening in the plot. It also means some numbers aren’t as show stopping as they could have been, in Crazy for You there is plenty of opportunity for breath-taking choreography but the chorus can’t join in because it’s hard to do a full out tap routine whilst simultaneously playing the trumpet.
All that being said overall the show is a hit with toe tapping musical numbers, a camembert-cheesy plot and great performances throughout. I would recommend dropping in to see it if it passes through a theatre near you. For tour dates visit the website here.
What do you think of the rise of actor-musician shows? Are you a fan or do you find them slightly distracting like me? Have you seen Crazy for You, what do you think?