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Sean Palmer as Bobby and Clare Foster as Polly in Crazy For You

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'Five Stars'! Evening Standard Review of Crazy For You Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

By Henry Hitchings
For The Evening Standard

"The world is in a mess," sings one character in Crazy for You, "with politics and taxes / And people grinding axes / There's no happiness."

Suitably glum words, some might say - and if right now you need a little summery escapism, look no further than this superb and for the most part uplifting musical.

With tunes by George Gershwin and lyrics by his brother Ira, it's a ripely entertaining piece. Ken Ludwig's book contains some zippy one-liners, and there's a lovely sense of showmanship throughout.

No one embodies this better than Sean Palmer. He plays Bobby Child, a rich young man from Manhattan who trundles off to Deadrock, a Nevada mining community described as "the armpit of the American West".

Posing as a noted impresario, Bobby brings music to the downtrodden citizens. In the process he seduces the only woman left in town, Polly Baker.

Played by Clare Foster, she's a tomboy who morphs into a romantic. The result is a deliberately improbable story of mistaken identity and musical redemption, and Timothy Sheader's production is full of youthful exuberance.

The leads are sublime: Palmer is suave but also warm, while Foster almost bursts with charm.

Around them there's razor-sharp ensemble work.

Stephen Mear's choreography is ingenious and polished, and the nine-piece band performs with gusto.

Sustaining a high level of poise and energy throughout, the show brims with a sassy joie de vivre that no unseasonal shower can dampen. In the words of the Gershwin classic I Got Rhythm, "Who could ask for anything more?"

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