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You'll Go Crazy for Gershwin's Girls in Open-Air Regent's Park Performance

Review of Crazy For You
Verdict: They've got rhythm!
Rating: Five Out of Five Stars

The Daily Mail

While London burned this week, the Open Air Theatre was busy restoring morale in Regent’s Park with an irresistible revival of the 1993 Broadway musical Crazy For You. The show started life as George and Ira Gershwin’s Girl Crazy back in 1930, but it’s best known from the 1943 Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland film.

Writer Ken Ludwig adapted the story, basing it around a struggling theatre in the sleepy town of Dead Rock, Nevada, which is saved by a rich young New York heir who’s refusing to enter the family banking business. And the big pay-off is an increased number of Gershwin songs.

Fleet-footed and spectacular, Timothy Sheader’s production builds on this treasure trove of show tunes, which include Someone To Watch Over Me and Embraceable You.

Peter McKintosh’s set moves from the chintzy world of Broadway to a dusty Midwest town built around a swing-door saloon.

Ludwig lays on a host of corny jokes and sight gags, but my favourite moment was a reprise of I Got Rhythm, played on a set of enamel chamber pots.

As so often, though, it’s Stephen Mear’s choreography that steals the show — especially one tumultuous tap-dancing routine, which features the 24-strong company pirouetting on metal trays.

The leggy chorus of squealing showgirls shipped into the desert from New York is also an absolute delight, as are their rough and ready cowpoke counterparts.

It’s a huge team effort and the sheer joy the company take in their work is infectious.

Clare Foster is terrific as the feisty red-headed country gal who wants to save the theatre.

Sean Palmer, as the New York heir with his heart set on her and a showbiz career, is a handsome sweetheart with a permanent toothpaste beam.

His finest moment comes when he has to mirror David Burt (the big Hollywood producer): both are drunk, dressed identically in double-breasted pin-stripe suits and sporting great big badger-streaked wigs. Who could ask for more?

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