The classic Gershwin love story, Crazy For You, has arrived at The Orchard Theatre in Dartford this week with Strictly winner Tom Chambers in the leading role. This musical favourite crammed with well-known songs such as I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Embraceable You and is an absolute hit with audiences.
Bobby Child is desperate to dance on stage, but when the renowned producer Bela Zangler snubs his talent, he follows his mother’s orders to shut down a failing theatre in the desert. However when he arrives, he falls in love with the owner’s daughter, Polly, and in an attempt to impress her, impersonates Zangler and pledges to save the theatre.
This is a fun story of mistaken identity, singing cowboys and dancing showgirls, created as an actor musician production by the Watermill Theatre. The music was outstanding, and you can’t deny the talent of the ‘quadruple threats’ on stage who not only perform the roles but also play a variety of instruments at the same time. However there are moments when this setup doesn’t quite complement the piece. Poignant scenes are somewhat disturbed when the onstage band suddenly ‘reappear’ for the following song and it is strange when you spot Zangler wander off to the drum kit.
Despite this, it’s a talented cast who put on a good show, led by Tom Chambers who presents a truly likeable and funny character in Bobby Child. His dance numbers speak for themselves and his duet with the real Zangler, excellently portrayed by Neil Ditt, is a showstopper!
Claire Sweeney certainly packs a punch as Irene, with some sexy dance numbers and costumes to match. Seren Sandham-Davies steps in for Charlotte Wakefield as Polly and gives a performance worthy of a leading lady rather than an understudy.
It’s a joyous and animated production for everyone to enjoy. Some moments could have missed the actor musicians and a few of dance numbers could have been improved by a larger dance ensemble, but overall, the show gives you a stunning set, talented cast members and beautiful music. Who could ask for anything more?!
Photo credit: Richard Davenport