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Crazy For You at Birmingham Hippodrome - Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Gershwin Songs & Strictly Stars in Romantic Musical
This charming musical of atmospheric Gershwin songs is seeing a resurgence following a hugely successful stint at the renowned but bijou Watermill Theatre.

Crazy For You, Birmingham Hippodrome, Review, Tom Chambers, Caroline Flack, Charlotte Wakefield
Tom Chambers is in his element in Crazy For You.


That acclaimed production of Crazy For You is now on the road and is being performed at various theatres in the Midlands. I caught it at Birmingham Hippodrome, where it stays from October 24 - 28 but next year it will also be at Malvern Theatres from January 30 - February 3 and at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from May 8 - 12.

Featuring a duo of Strictly Come Dancing winners - Caroline Flack and Tom Chambers - this is an all singing - all dancing show that is a throwback to the golden era of Hollywood musicals.

It started life as Ira and George Gershwin's stage show Girl Crazy in 1930 and later a film starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney with a soundtrack of unforgettable hits like I Got Rhythm and But Not For Me. By the 1990's, the score was rearranged to include other Gershwin songs and turned into Crazy For You, but following the same storyline.

That story revolves around dashing Bobby, the son of a wealthy New York banking family, whose dream is to be on the stage despite the protestations of his aggressive mother and similarly aggrieved fiancé. When sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose a theatre, he ends up falling for the proprietor's daughter Polly and trying to save the theatre by putting on a fundraising show.

Crazy For You, Birmingham Hippodrome, Review, Tom Chambers, Caroline Flack, Charlotte Wakefield
Old fashioned feel-good charm


It's a madcap light-hearted tale of mistaken identities, romance and bringing a community together, which is guaranteed to make you smile. Not only is the storyline a joy, there's the dreamy music too including They Can't Take That Away From Me, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Someone To Watch Over Me

There's an intimate feel to the show, which has a small but talented cast who play instruments live on stage along with singing, dancing and acting.

Tom Chambers, who has quite a repertoire of stage musicals like Top Hat to his name since winning Strictly, is a charming lead as naive love-struck Bobby. He's totally in his element and commands the stage with a natural ease, particularly during the many vigorous and exact tap-dancing routines.

Crazy For You, Birmingham Hippodrome, Review, Tom Chambers, Caroline Flack, Charlotte Wakefield
Caroline Flack acts out her character well.


Opposite him as Polly is Charlotte Wakefield - an Olivier Award nominated actress whose been in The Sound Of Music and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang of late along with TV roles in Holby City and Waterloo Road.

Wakefield has the voice and emotion to pull out the big heartfelt numbers of Someone To Watch Over Me and But Not For Me along with giving her character a likeable sassy attitude to not make life easy for Bobby.

Meanwhile, TV presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing winner Caroline Flack may be at the start of her musical touring career but pulls quite a punch on stage as Bobby's shouting fiancé Irene. If anything, Flack was surprisingly under used and didn't have any major dance numbers and only one solo song, which she performed well considering her background as a TV presenter.

Her acting was her strength and she played out Irene's fiery temperament well.

Crazy For You, Birmingham Hippodrome, Review, Tom Chambers, Caroline Flack, Charlotte Wakefield
The actors play instruments live on stage


As I mentioned, this is a musical that dates back over 80 years and is packed with old-fashioned style and charisma. It gives a nod to that history (the sharp-eared of you will notice a mention to Mickey Rooney in passing) but has also been given a refresh in this Watermill Theatre Production to give it a current edge.

Crazy For You will charm your socks off. It's got great music, an impressive cast and a romantic storyline that will win over your heart, and who could ask for anything more?

RATING:

Tickets cost from £17 for Birmingham Hippodrome, Malvern Theatres and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. For more information and tickets, visit the Crazy For You website.
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Why? See Strictly stars in a romantic classic musical
When: Touring in Midlands until May 2018
Phone: Various Hippodrome - 0844 338 5000. Malvern - 01684 892277
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome and also Malvern Theatres and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Cost: From £17
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