Review: Crazy For You, Chichester Festival Theatre

I finally make it to Chichester Festival Theatre’s big summer musical, the Gershwin-tastic Crazy For You, led by Charlie Stemp and Carly Anderson

“Shall we give in to despairOr shall we dance with never a care?”

It’s been a challenge waiting to see Crazy For You at Chichester Festival Theatre but I was determined to make a particular double-bill with The Narcissist and so ’til the final week I did wait. Susan Stroman’s production is exactly the kind of delicious frothery that Anything Goes has been essaying so effectively in London and you have to imagine that an announcement about a West End transfer and/or UK tour for this show is soon in the offing…surely.

It’s a decade since the Open Air Theatre mounted an appealing production which did make it into town (there was also a delightful fringe production Upstairs at the Gatehouse) but Ken Ludwig’s book (co-conceived with Mike Ockrent and inspired by material by Guy Bolton and John McGowan) is so gossamer-light that you forget the plot as soon as you leave the theatre. It is merely a framework onto which is hung a healthy smattering of the Great American Songbook.

Charlie Stemp and Carly Anderson lead a sizeable company with real skill, both singing and dancing a dream, Tom Edden delivering scene-stealing work from the supporting cast as Zangler. The dazzling breadth of Stroman’s choreography adds to the magic here, Beowulf Boritt’s set and William Ivey Long’s costume looking the part and crucially, MD Alan Williams and his band really makes the most of Doug Besterman and Mark Cumberland’s sparkling new orchestrations. 

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Crazy For You is booking at Chichester Festival Theatre until 4th September

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