Review: Crazy For You, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Full of the glories of Gershwin and the bounciness of Broadway, Crazy For You makes a stellar transfer to the Gillian Lynne Theatre

“Who could ask for anything more?”

Chichester Festival Theatre’s big summer musicals often seem tailor-made for West End transfers and with musical theatre leading man Charlie Stemp at its helm, it was inevitable that Crazy For You would be making the leap into the capital. And it has bounded into the Gillian Lynne Theatre losing none of its joie-de-vivre, a real blockbuster rollercoaster of a classic song-and-dance musical that is uncomplicated entertainment near its best.

I enjoyed the show in Chichester and had a rollicking good time once again. It’s actually a good transfer insofar as the width of the stage at the Gillian Lynne well allows for the expansiveness of Susan Stroman’s ebullient choreography to stretch to every flung out fingertip and pointed toe. With a company of over 30 bodies, there’s a sense of scale here too that is admirable too, harking back to a golden age of big productions as well as the Golden Age of musicals.

An adaptation of the Gershwins’ Girl Crazy, it actually only harks back to 1992, Ken Ludwig’s gossamer-light book folding in a wider range of the songwriters’ incredible oeuvre but this really isn’t the kind of show where you’re hemming and hawing over narrative details. Stroman, who also directs, keeps things zippy and zingy over an enjoyably silly story about putting on a show, whilst we wait patiently for some of the greatest songs ever written to pop up.

Stemp’s Bobby is the boy putting on the show in order to save a failing theatre and impress a girl (the daughter of the theatre’s owner, natch) and he is perfectly cast, his genial openness and astounding skill level hugely magnetic. Carly Anderson holds her own though as the sparky Polly and they both have to do serious battle with a hilarious Tom Edden who tries his level best to steal every single scene. Lots of fun.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Crazy For You is booking at Gillian Lynne Theatre until 20th January 2024

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