Wednesday, 16 May 2018

REVIEW: Crazy For You at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Crazy For You opened over 80 years ago and has been delighting audiences ever since; so can this new touring production breathe new life into an old classic?

Well, it gives it a very good go with some excellent work from the cast – namely the strong ensemble and supporting roles all of who multi role and play a plethora of instruments live on stage. Ned Rudkins-Stow particularly impresses as gormless Moose whilst excelling on bass and almost stealing the show with some great one liners.

Tom Chambers is a mixed bag as Bobby Child with his characterisation too zany for the audience to fully engage with. He is better when pretending to be theatre producer Bela Zangler and this role seems to suit him more naturally. His silky dance moves made famous by his turn on Strictly Come Dancing are on full display but his stage presence isn’t enough compared to the experience of Claire Sweeney. 

As long suffering fiancée Irene, Sweeney is used sparingly but dazzles when called upon. Naughty Babyled by Sweeney was a real highlight of act two and showcased the excellent comedy skills of Christopher Fry as saloon owner Lank.

The real star of this show though was Charlotte Wakefield who shone as the only girl in Nevada Polly. Her vocals were flawless especially on Not For Mein act two and her movement was impeccable throughout. The character was strong, feisty and genuine and there was great chemistry and understanding between Wakefield and her cast members.

Diego Pitarch’s set design seems to engulf the New Victoria stage and doesn’t offer enough variety to sparkle which is a shame given the hard work of the cast. His colourful and bright costume design fairs better with a number of eye-catching moments throughout. 

Act two packs more of a punch than the first with better pace and more
narrative to follow. The only blip in the second act was What Causes That which sees Zangler and Childs coming together. The sequence was far too long and the comedy too exaggerated to really induce genuine laughter.

Overall this was a solid but unspectacular production which will please existing fans without welcoming a new wave of audience members falling for the show.

Review by Andy Edmeads 

Rating: ★★★
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