Review – Crazy for You – Novello Theater

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Usually, when I go see shows I want to know as little as possible about them. This was hardly possible for Crazy for You, which I just saw this summer at Regent’s Park. But when I was offered free tickets to see a show I loved more than any musical I’d seen all year, how could I say no? Tap dancing! Wonderful costumes! Great songs and a light-hearted plot! I was more than pleased to see how the transfer had done now that it was all set up in the Novello Theater.

So, story: Bobby, a banker with dreams of dancing on the Great White Way, leaves behind New York and his friends at the Zangler Follies to go to Deadrock, Nevada, under orders from his mom to repossess a theater there. He falls in love with Polly, the theater owners daughter, who rejects him when she figures out he’s from the bank. As for the rest of it … well, it has a happy ending, and the rest is too much fun to reveal in my review.

I’m pleased to say that all of the energy of the original show is still there, and that the lack of a lovely sunset is more than compensated for by the removal of the terror of an evening squall. This time, I knew what to expect: this is not a musical where the songs really move the story forward, but more a show with musical numbers that provide an excuse for some truly outstanding dancing. And the end of act one, “I Got Rhythm,” just had me completely wound up as the tension got higher and higher and the tenuous connection with reality shot away like a balloon slipping its tether. Do cowboys play the bass fiddle? Is it possible to dance on a trash can lid? Thanks to the power of A Darn Fine Show, these silly concerns of “reality based theater watching” were no longer relevant. It all happened because it had to happen, because the girl needed to fall in love with the guy and the whole thing was just going to have to have a happy ending somehow. I gave up my criticizing and just went with the flow. It was lovely!

The second act had the number I’d most like to perform myself (“Naughty Baby”) and a great comedy moment with Bobby and Zangler as two drunks thinking they’re seeing their mirror image. However, there was a bit too long of an energy gap while Bobby and Polly were trying to figure out just where they should be (together, in New York, etc), which makes me think that about 10 minutes of the show (and Polly’s number “”But Not For Me”) should probably go just to keep it tight. But it all came together in the most amazing finale that was right out of the Busby Berkeley musicals I love – and right on stage in front of me. Wow. It was still just fantastic, the perfect cure for a London winter, a musical so full of joy you have to just give in and enjoy yourself. In some ways, it seems like something I could go see regularly, on Fridays after work, or just after a particularly down day when I wanted a pick me up. And I suppose I can, if I want to, since it’s booking through July 2012.

(This review is for a performance that took place on November 29th, 2011.)

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