AS BIG musical theatre shows go, they don’t come much bigger than George and Ira Gershwin and Ken Ludwig’s ‘Crazy for You’.
It needs good leaders and a fearless company who are prepared to bleed for the faith. Take a bow BMTC – you are always watchable but this time even more so.
When I review musical society productions, it’s easy to spot the shows where the creatives have let their principals ‘do the diva’ whilst the ensemble get the ‘also ran herding by numbers’ direction.
Then there are those who know that the way to glory means treading a different road. One that makes sure that there is no place to hide on stage, who bring everyone up to average and then keep raising up the limbo bar till it will not go any higher.
This happened here with BMTC – there is no weak link and everyone works in synergy. John Morrison directs with a good pace from the get-go, Chris Corcoran waves his baton over a West End fit orchestra and the amazing Sadie Lovelady has choreographed routines that are high energy, sometimes stunning and always imaginative.
This is a show full of tap routines which I loved – especially the one set on metal dinner plates that has the hairs on the back of your neck rising up.
The story of Crazy For You, like so many of those early musicals, is a bit limp – it is boy meets girl stuff and there more to provide a platform for the singing and dancing.
The Show opens in 1930s New York where the last performance of the Zangler Follies is closing for the season and Tess, the Dance Director, (perfectly played by Claire Brough) is dodging being groped by Bela Zangler. Lewis Doley is quite rightly outrageous as the impresario.
Enter heart-throb lead Bobby Child, a powerhouse performance from Stuart McDiarmid. Bobby is the frustrated thespian, rich son of a banking family who is hoping for an audition with Zangler. Bobby fails to impress, landing on Zanglers’ foot during the final flourish of his dance routine.
So it’s bye-bye theatre – hello corporate banking as Bobby’s domineering businesswoman mother Lottie (spikey stuff from Jill Hughes) dispatches Bobby to Deadrock Nevada – a decaying gold rush town – to foreclose on the towns’ rundown theatre ‘The Gaiety’.
Brynmor Smart makes a fine job as wailing woe-is-me old-timer Everett Baker, the owner of the disused, dustsheet covered theatre – as does Liam McNally as his gun toting nemesis Lank Hawkins.
Everett’s daughter is Polly who Bobby falls in love with at first sight. Chloe Turner plays her simply lusciously, hitting the right notes and making the right moves every time.
Other principals putting in strong performances are Siobhan Ganley as Irene, Bobby’s long term never-to-reach-the-aisle fiancée, Lily Moore as showgirl Pasty and Kris Evans and Rachel Fox as larger than life tourists Eugene and Patricia Fodor.
From a strong ensemble my special shout-outs go to Randy Johnson as Moose and Luke Hopson as Mingo.
One tiny niggle the shoot outs should have had more impact. This is a golden opportunity for some gun spinning – I’m the man – ye-ha cowboy stuff but does not quite cut the mustard. Stage pistols with live bangs not taped sound effects would have made a big difference as well.
Pistols aside this is an all-round joyous production, an excellent night out and highly recommended from me.
Crazy For You runs until Saturday at The Crescent. Click here for times, tickets and more information.