Crazy For You

2022

Crazy For You dancers on stage

Crazy For You 2022

Crazy For You 2022

Classic tale of a boy, a girl and a theatre in need of salvation

 

Crazy For You is the classic tale of a boy, a girl, and a theatre in need of salvation. Stage-struck Bobby Child works as a banker for his overbearing mother, Lottie, but spends his off hours practicing dance routines and sneaking in to audition for Zangler’s Follies, the most popular show in New York City, helmed by Bela Zangler, a temperamental Hungarian producer. Unfortunately, Bobby’s showbiz career is going nowhere, and his fiancé is insisting that he name the date, so when Lottie demands that he investigate a far-away customer who has defaulted on a mortgage, Bobby jumps at the chance to get out of town. 

 

Arriving in Deadrock, Nevada, Bobby falls for Polly Baker, the sweet and sturdy postmistress, whose father happens to own the beautiful, but decaying, Gaiety Theatre, which he has been sent to seize. Now lovestruck, Bobby comes up with a plan: call in his friends, the Follies Girls, all the way from New York City, cast the locals who are a bunch of rundown cowboys with little musical talent and put on a show to save the old building.

 

Polly falls in turn for Bobby, but feels angry and betrayed when she discovers that he comes from the bank. In order to spend time with the furious Polly, Bobby disguises himself as Bela Zangler. But while “Zangler” is talking up Bobby to the unsuspecting Polly, Polly is falling for the impersonation of Zangler, and when the real Zangler arrives in town, chasing Tessie, his beloved dance captain, things really get “Crazy!”

 

Floating around the stage

 

Billy Sweet plays Bobby Child, his debut leading role with DYMT, and he has earned his leading man stripes with this performance. He sings, tap dances, which he learned for this role, shows that he can perform comedy and props hold no fear for this 19-year-old. He looks suave and provides goosebumps when he sings "They Can't Take That Away From Me". His mirroring with Will, as Zangler creates musical magic and shows that both young actors have great timing. Talking of timing, Billy's timing in the choreography in "I Got Rhythm" actually made me, and many audience members, take a sharp intake of breath. His dance duet with Emma made the pair of them look as if they were floating around the stage, thanks to his toe leads. If you've seen this show, you'll know where I mean; if you've not seen this production, you need to go and see it!

 

William Evans plays Bela Zangler, and although the eldest actor in this production, he looks a mere youth, even with the false moustache. Both William and Billy are playing characters quite a bit older than their age, showing great maturity in both actors. Again, great timing, wonderful comedy play, and a brilliant Hungarian accent. The duet with Billy, "What Causes That", combines those timing and comedy skills perfectly. Will may be moving up from the Youth section, but I can't wait to see what he does next as he has had a brilliant, and varied run with DYMT, and this role is just the cherry on top of a very moorish item of confectionary.

 

Emma Cook plays Polly Baker, and the first thing that I noticed of Polly was her very clear voice. Ira Gershwin's lyrics are so beautiful that concentrating on what is being said in the songs is a joy, and Emma's voice casts a magnifying glass over the beauty of those words. I've always liked Marti Webb's voice because every word and every nuance is brought out by the clarity of her voice, and Emma has that same vocal ability. Another goosebump moment for me was when she sang "Someone To Watch Over Me" and again with "But Not For Me". Emma's dance work is also really commendable; I've already mentioned Emma's dance with Billy, but just look at her go in "I Got Rhythm". Loved the accent and the feistiness of Polly.

 

Lottie Child is played by Katie Welsh. Practically all of the characters in the musical are older than the actors who play them and Katie's morphing into the matriarch Lottie shows her character acting skills off perfectly. 

 

Morgan Hemstock plays hotel owner Lank Hawkins, who has a thing for Polly and tries to scare Bobby off, but to no avail, but despite this he also gets his very own Naughty Baby. Love the energy that Morgan has and has a great acting face. Now, what do I mean by that? He knows just the right expression for every emotion presented by Lank, and that comes over in his face. He also has a great physicality, which is what is needed with Lank.

 

Katie Welsh and Megan Beastall, who play siblings Eugenie and Patricia Fodor, the couple who turn up in Deadrock to write a travel book and to include the hotel ran by Link. They give Link a right run around, including asking for croissants with their morning beverage and for a morning call at 5.30 am. Two fun characters played brilliantly by two fun characters. 

 

Great acting and great vocals, and great fun

 

Amy Brett plays the incredibly bossy, almost dominatrix like, Irene Roth, and I am sure that she must have enjoyed every second bossing around Link while crooning "Naughty Baby" to him. Great acting and great vocals, and great fun.

 

Tom Davies, who plays Everett Bake, is the actor who has to play a character most distant to his own 22 years. Everett is Polly's father and comes across very believable due to Tom's physical acting skills. Maybe watching "The Golden Girls" gave him tips on acting like an old person?

 

Charlotte Diggle plays Tess, Zangler's "bit on the side". Does she finally manage to win the complete affections of Zangler? Come and see.

 

The Follies give this show a real Hollywood feel about it with the spectacular costumes and dance routines. They are played by Bebe Briggs, Martha Bertram, Laila Cook, Charlotte Diggle, Isobel Eaglesfield, Molly Haines, Rebecca Hill, Beth Johnson, Emmy Jones, Taylor McDermott, Ava Pennington and Caitlin Smith.

 

The Cowboys and ensemble were played by Reece Bland, Lara Eley, Evie Knight, Ben Mather, Daniel Pimperton, Carraog Quiala, Sam Reed, Molly Stevenson, Lewis Taylor (who is only 14 years old), Janusha Thavarasalingam and Max Wilde.

 

Crazy For You dancers on stage
Crazy For You performers on stage
Crazy For You two male actors on stage
Direction, choreography and music

 

Directed by Matt Powell, and it was so good to see Matt again after so many years. I've known Matt for many years now so I know the calibre of Director at play here. This, I imagine may have been a welcome challenge for Matt, due to the size of the cast and, as I said earlier, the production was like watching one of those old Hollywood movies on a Sunday afternoon in Winter. He created a lovely warm and nostalgic feeling in this show. It's just like he had never been away. Another directorial success for Mr Powell, assisted by Caroline Twells. Talking of which.....

 

Choreography is by Caroline Twells, who was assisted by Danielle Wilkinson. This show is almost all choreography and the work that has been put into this area must have been massive, because the results are spectacularly massive. The ballroom dances, the tap dancing, the country influenced dancing, the solo, duo and group numbers, all perfectly executed. The energy that was put into all of these by this group of actors was really appreciated by the almost full auditorium. This group would not need to visit a gym with workouts like this on a nightly basis.

 

The choreography was also very complex as it involved many props, provided by Katie Bird, so not only did the cast have to get their heads, legs and feet around the choreography, there were props to contend with. All in a day's work for this multi-talented lot. Loved the "I Got Rhythm" seven minute plus routine as well as the very clever "Slap That Bass" routine. Dance Captain is Sam Reed by the way.

 

The costumes were so gorgeous for The Follies, plus the smart suits for Bobby and Zangler, and then there are the typical checks and dungarees for the cowboy hillbillies and the marvellous power outfit for Lottie Child. All thanks to Judith Evans, Joy Borrington and Vanessa Eaglesfield.

 

Sound Design is where local theatre seems to fall down, and again there were issues with missed mic cues, missing the start of some actor's words and even some where you could not hear some of the actors. Most of the actors, fortunately have really good projection, so even without their mic being on, you could hear them. I felt at times that when the mics were on, especially with the songs, did need to be turned up just a bit more so we could hear the wonderful Gershwin lyrics. The mic issues are at most theatres of late, but I do appreciate that with such a large cast, without pre-programmed mic cues, the missing mic issue will continue. It's not an easy job for the sound operator, who needs to be part octopus methinks. The Design was by Harry Greatorex and operated by Simon Birchall with trainee Katie Harrison.

 

Light Design by Jamie Vella and the trainee being Harry Macdonald-Preston. If you'll pardon the pun, this area of the production was spot on. Colourful and evocative, providing a sense of fun as well as that important romantic atmosphere.

 

Musical Director is Charlotte Daniel. Her ten-piece band swing and swooned through these Gershwin classics and filled Derby Theatre with a clear, rounded and lush sound.

 

The soundtrack contains so many well-known George and Ora Gershwin hits. Songs like "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Slap That Bass", "Someone To Watch Over Me", "I Got Rhythm", "Shall We Dance", "Embraceable You", "Nice Work If You Can Get It", "But Not For Me" among many classics of the Great American Songbook. 

 

This week has been a week of top-notch theatre for me and this is another very classy production, leaving me with that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Yet another show with a standing ovation, showing the cast and Derby Youth Musical Theatre just how much we appreciated the array of talent who sang and danced their socks off for our enjoyment. And talking of which, I hope that they all get to soak their feet in a lovely soothing bath spa, because they all deserve that comfort.

 

Review by Kev Castle 

 

 

♪ Nativity - 2023            ♪ Crazy For You - 2022            ♪ Bring It On - 2021

♪ Barnum - 2019            ♪ Legally Blonde - 2018            ♪ West Side Story - 2017

♪ Guy and Dolls - 2016           ♪ The Phantom of the Opera - 2015

♪ Grease - 2014            ♪ Our House - 2013