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


'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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