Crazy for You at New Wimbledon Theatre
The cast of this year’s production of Crazy For You are clearly very talented. But for all their best efforts, the musical itself amounts to nothing more or less exciting than riding the Teacups at Disneyland. Sure, there’s some spinning, but in end it’s all a bit tame and predictable – a safe show to see with kids or grandparents.
The New Wimbledon Theatre is a great venue for this kind of gentle nostalgia. It’s spacious and grand enough, but also unintimidating. The staging effectively uses a lot of the same background material to represent both the rural West and the bustling East of 1930s America, by being modelled after the theatre stages in the narrative. Indeed, while nothing feels sparse, there’s a definite sense that this production is scaled back.
That most of the actors are also the musicians and dancers is impressive, but it comes at a cost. Timings are not always on point, and the majority of the American accents put on by the cast are unconvincing. However, Tom Chambers’s dancing and physical comedy in the role of main character Bobby Child is fun, and Charlotte Wakefield as the female lead Polly Baker carries a good portion of the show with her excellent voice.
But the inescapable fact is that this is a musical that debuted on Broadway in 1992, using songs written in the 1930s. Part of the problem might simply be that the material isn’t ageing well. Perhaps a different version would have added some sprinkles to all this vanilla, or even some diversity to what is, in this rendition, an all-white cast. With a couple of smart jokes and innuendos here and there, this production of Crazy For You takes a stab at it, but falls short. It ends up being an entirely unchallenging musical, which, for all the talent of the performers, isn’t memorable.
Photo: Richard Davenport
Crazy for You is at New Wimbledon Theatre from 6th until 10th March 2018 before continuing on its UK tour. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Crazy for You here: