Friday, 14 December 2018

Gershwin brothers’ musical is worth hitching your wagon to!

IF you like a show that’s full of fun and good old-fashioned melodies then you

IF you like a show that’s full of fun and good old-fashioned melodies then you could do no better than hitch your wagon to George and Ira Gershwin’s Crazy for You — the big summer musical now playing at the Watermill in Bagnor.

It’s an uncomplicated plot involving saving a derelict but much-loved theatre way out west in Deadrock, Navada, with the usual boy meets girl, loses girl (but without a great deal of jeopardy in this case), and subterfuge to get her back.

But the strength of this very lively production lies in Paul Hart’s direction and the superb music provided by the actor/musicians in the cast.

The show really started to come alive when we arrived in Deadrock to a spell-binding close-harmony number from locals Billy (Matt Bateman), Custus (Emile Ruddock) and Moose (Ned Rudkins-Stow), which was a real highlight.

Our hero, Bobby Child (Tom Chambers), has been sent there to foreclose on the theatre’s mortgage by his domineering mother Lottie (Lindsay Goodhand), who apparently owns the bank and dearly wants her son to succeed her.

But he has other ideas, being completely smitten with song and dance, and wants to make his career in the theatre.

What better opportunity than when he arrives in Deadrock and falls instantly in love with the theatre owner’s daughter, Polly — very competently played and beautifully sung by Caroline Sheen. But he fails to impress and so has to resort to deceiving her to achieve his happy ever after.

There is so much to admire in this production — not least the choreography by Nathan Wright. The dancers make the stage look three times bigger than it is, and if anything has a flat surface then it gets danced on.

But it’s not just the song and dance that keep you engaged. The funny throw-away jokes come thick and fast from writer Ken Ludwig and there is wonderful business with props and scenery, all executed with aplomb. Diego Pitarch’s design is imaginative and efficient.

The story just bounces along, with strong performances from Hollie Cassar as chorus girl Tess and Peter Dukes as her admirer, the impresario Bela Zangler, and a superb number from Lucy Thatcher as Bobby’s fiancée Irene as she seduces hotel-owner and villain of the piece Lank Hawkins (Jeremy Legat).

With melodies such as Someone to Watch Over Me, Nice Work if You Can Get It and They Can’t Take That Away from Me it’s no small wonder you go away uplifted and humming all the tunes.

The big number to end the first half is I Got Rhythm, and with this hardworking and talented cast, that’s no understatement.

Crazy for You runs until Saturday, September 17. For tickets call the Watermill box office on 01635 46044 or visit

Review: Mary Scriven

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