Wednesday March 7, 2018 @ New Wimbledon Theatre
Starring Tom Chambers, Charlotte Wakefield and Claire Sweeney
Over the past few years shows such as Show Boat, 42nd Street, On the Town and Half a Sixpence have returned to London and for good reason, sometimes there is just nothing like a classic musical. And that statement is more than fit for purpose here, with the new UK Tour of Crazy for You. Starring Tom Chambers of Top Hat, this joyous musical has all the fittings of a Shakespearean-like comedy; you have boy-meets-girl, mistaken identity and a happy ending and in-between that, some stunning Gershwin hits.
The show is just good fun and effectively so in this small-scale production. This production originally presented at the regional Watermill Theatre the set does feel quite inclusive, not covering all the Wimbledon Theatre stage but it worked well enough, although I can’t help thinking that being in a smaller venue would have been better for the overall atmosphere and what this production is aiming for, but we managed.
While not as big-scale or impressive choreography-wise like a 42nd Street or a Half a Sixpence, there were some show-stopping moments: “I Got Rhythm” at the end of Act One and “Stiff Upper Lip” in Act Two were great highlights that included the whole cast. Speaking of, this cast were sensational. The ensemble double as the orchestra-musicians in this production, which always gets extra points in my book. While I missed Chambers in Top Hat, he seems so at home in this type of show, displaying his of-the-time vocals and dancing which suits the role to a T. He’s also a great comedic actor, especially in the scenes in which he pretends to be theatre director Mr. Zangler, using physical comedy really proved a hit with Wednesday night’s audience.
While her stage time is limited, Claire Sweeney also does a great job as Irene Roth, Bobby’s unwitting fiancee. But the real star of the show for me was Charlotte Wakefield as the fierce Polly Baker. Her stage presence is electric and she has the voice, acting ability and dance skills to prove why. With her honest emotion and strong belt, she brought the house down with her version of “But Not For Me”. I really want to see more of her after this because she walked away with the show.
Overall this small-scale production has big heart and classic rhythm that makes it a staple of what these types of musicals should be, you come away feeling great and humming away down the street. Standing Ovations all round!
“Crazy for You” continues to tour the UK. Visit crazyforyoutour.com.