Sunday, 23 December 2012

Crazy For You - review

Written by: Josh Brown (@JoshPBrown)

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

Warm fires, great grub, and friendly faces; the Gatehouse is a hospitable and homely Highgate pub, serving as the ideal retreat from a brisk and, as always in Britain, soggy trek through London. The pub’s jovial atmosphere drifts upstairs to the theatre, fashioning the perfect ambience for the 1992 jukebox musical, Crazy For You

Photo: Minyahil Giorgis
Based on a reworking of the 1930 Gershwin musical Girl Crazy, Ken Ludwig’s book Crazy For You tells the simplistic yet warming tale of Bobby Child (Jay Rincon); a goofy New York dreamer, who unwittingly falls for Polly (Ceili O’Connor), the owner of a theatre his family bank is attempting to close down. In charming style, Ovation presents the shows first official London fringe production with astonishing vigour. 

The intimate theatre and traverse staging infuses us with the exceptionally exuberant cast.  Rincon is perfect as the adorably comic Bobby Child and O’Connor puts in a beautiful performance with spectacular vocals as Polly. Both performers harmonise delightfully and set the benchmark for an exceptionally talented ensemble to follow suit. Another standout performance comes from Tamsin Dowsett who takes to the stage as Bobby's demanding New York mother and later as eccentric English travel writer Patricia Fodor. Although her performances come close to being too exaggerated, Dowsett never oversteps the mark and delivers a wonderfully entertaining performance.    

Grant Murphy’s choreography doesn’t disappoint either with spellbinding bursts of energy as the cast dance from bar table to balcony to lamppost, brushing the noses of those in the front row as they ignite the stage. With such choreography and the live music of a six-piece band, it becomes impossible to resist the odd toe tap, head nod, or rye smile. 

Photo: Minyahil Giorgis
Although the set can sometimes seem clunky and out of sorts with the production, there is no doubt that taking a successful Broadway show and placing it within a London fringe theatre takes courage, enthusiasm and perseverance. Under the artistic directorship of John and Katie Plews, Crazy For You Upstairs at the Gatehouse admirably revives a perhaps forgotten musical with true class.

This production runs until 27 January 2013. 

Follow us on Twitter / Like us on Facebook

No comments: