By Dave Doyle | 10/11/2017


Crazy for You
Sheffield Lyceum
Until Saturday, November 11

THOUGH it throws back to the 1930s, Crazy for You was actually put together in the 1990s from pieces of other classic Broadway musicals.

Bobby Child (Holby City’s Tom Chambers) works reluctantly for his mother’s bank in New York City.

Engaged — for reasons unknown — to his bitter fiancee Irene (Hollie Cassar), his true love is tap dance.

Encouraged by his showgirl friends, he approaches theatre boss Bela Zangler (Neil Ditt) for an audition — but flunks it.

Mom (Kate Milner-Evans) sends dejected Bobby to small-town Nevada, where the bank is foreclosing on a theatre-turned-post office.

There, Bobby meets Polly (Charlotte Wakefield), an Annie Oakley or Calamity Jane analogue — macho, quick-tempered and reluctant to marry.

Of course, city slicker Bobby is smitten and sets out to both woo Polly and save her father’s (Mark Sangster) theatre from his mother’s grasping bank.

Broadway musicals aren’t famous for the complexity of their plots — Crazy for You doesn’t break that mould.

Rest assured that identities will be mistaken, disasters narrowly averted, the boy will get the girl and all will live happily ever after.

It’s hardly original or surprising — Shakespeare sketched it all out centuries ago. And he probably stole it from the Greeks.

The main attraction here is the marvellous music, played very ably by the actors themselves, often while dancing too.

Showgirls stroke violins while cowboys caress the brass — and it isn’t just the ensemble.

Lead actors also pick up instruments when not centre stage — even Chambers, with a snatch of trumpet and some quite clever shoe-drumming.

Chambers isn’t the strongest singer ever to grace a stage. He’s good, but his fancy footwork certainly outshines his voice.

His physical presence is also a delight, especially while abseiling down the set and during a slapstick musical duet with Ditt.

But Wakefield dominates the singing stakes with a powerful performance featuring several sustained, goosebump-raising notes.

And the cowboys provide a few harmonious interludes, crowned by Moose (Ned Rudkins-Stow) with a bass-slapping solo.

The Follies showgirls dance fabulously, though their singing is sometimes lost beneath the band.

There isn’t anything ingenious about Crazy for You. It’s stacked with pretty standard Broadway tropes, though they’re executed very well.

But if you love dance and the showtunes of the incomparable Gershwins — think I’ve Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me, Nice Work if You Can Get It — this musical is for you.