Reviewed by Wendy Mildren
There are not enough superlatives to describe Therry’s latest production Crazy for You, which has a cast of millions and features songs by Ira and George Gershwin. The show is largely based on the Gershwin’s 1930 musical Girl Crazy.
Bobby Child (Brady Lloyd) is the only son of a banking family and has no desire to take up the reins of banking but is dance crazy. He tries unsuccessfully to audition for Bela Zangler (John Rosen) but fails to impress. Bobby has a domineering mother and a nagging fiancée. His mother is determined to get him away from the stage and his fiancée and sends him to Deadrock in Nevada to foreclose on a rundown theatre. This property is owned by Polly Baker (Fiona Delaine) and her father, Everett Baker (Tom Carney). Bobby is bowled over by Polly and decides to help her by putting on a show using his friends in New York. Polly won’t have anything to do with Bobby, so he turns up disguised as “Mr. Zangler”.
Lloyd was sensational in the role of Bobby. His dancing and singing were first class and his comedic timing was excellent. His exuberant use of his body and face to express his feelings was a joy to watch. His impersonation of ‘Zangler’ was hysterical, especially when the real ‘Zangler’ turned up in Deadrock. Fiona Delaine as ‘Polly’ was delightful and maintained her American accent throughout. Her dancing and singing were excellent as was her acting. Pam O’Grady as the domineering mother, Mrs. Lottie Child was great and her delivery of some of the cutting one-liners was exemplary. Michelle Nightingale, the nagging fiancée, Irene Roth looked the part and delivered her lines with great energy and did a steamy version of Naughty Baby.
Rosen played the philandering Follies manager Zangler beautifully. He maintained his heavy accent all the way through. Rodney Hutton who played the only hotelier in Deadrock, Lank Hawkins was believable and exhibited great energy. Courtney Allen who played the Follies Dance Director, Tess was lovely especially when repulsing the romantic endeavours of Mr. Zangler. Two cameo parts of two terribly English guidebook writers, Eugene and Patricia Fodor were played to the hilt by Chris Meegan and Sue Wylie. Their enthusiasm was boundless.
The fifteen actors who played the Follies dancers and the cowboys were all first class. The chorus work was beautifully done, and in most cases, delivered in part harmony. The tap dancing was cleverly choreographed especially given the size of the Arts Theatre stage. The 18-member orchestra, under the masterful direction of Mark Delaine, honoured the cherished Gershwin legacy with an exhilarating performance. Mega-Kudos likewise to director David Sinclair and choreographer Linda Williams for their expert stewardship of this splendid production.
The costuming was superb and Sandra Davis and her team is to be congratulated, as the show looked professional. The set worked well and the fact that the scenes were changed as the actors continued their dialogue made the show flow seamlessly.
At the end of the Opening Night the cast received a richly deserved standing ovation.