Crazy for You at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Julie Wallis

Crazy for You at Birmingham Hippodrome

Crazy for You is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 28th October, and it’s worth leaving the comfort of you armchair on these dark nights to see this uplifting laugh feast.

Tom Chambers 'Bobby' and Company Photo by Richard Davenport
Tom Chambers ‘Bobby’ and Company Photo by Richard Davenport.

This fabulous production with music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin features classic songs such as Someone To Watch Over Me, I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me and Nice Work If You Can Get It. Alongside these classic songs, you are treated to a lot of laughs, some fantastic costumes, a bit of farce and mistaken identities.

The story is based around Bobby, who is engaged to Irene, but when Bobby travels to a sleepy town in Nevada to foreclose on the local theatre for his mothers bank, he falls in love with Polly. Polly has already decided she hates Bobby, because he is closing the towns theatre. Bobby pretends to be Bela Zangler. Meanwhile, the real Bela Zangler arrives in town and the chaos and confusion begins.

Caroline Flack as 'Irene'. Photo by Richard Davenport
Caroline Flack as ‘Irene’. Photo by Richard Davenport

This is not the usual ‘three door ‘ farce with misplaced trousers, the farce comes from the mistaken identity and it’s all very funny. The stand out scene from this, has to be when Bela and Bobby are both on stage, both being Bela and they mirror each other’s actions.

If you have ever seen the Dawn French and Darcey Bussell sketch where Dawn is looking at Darcey in a mirror and the copy each other’s movements, then that is exactly the same thing, only it’s funnier here. The timing was impeccable, and I imagine a lot of hard work has gone into getting this spot on. It does show. I have never seen anything like it before.

Photo by Richard Davenport
Photo by Richard Davenport

Tom Chambers plays Bobby, and he is a talented singer, dancer and actor. His performance did not disappoint. I felt that there was a chemistry between Tom and co star Caroline Flack who plays his fiancé Irene.

Ms Flack was wonderful in her role, and demonstrates that she is a talented actor. I would have liked to see Caroline doing more dance routines since she did perform so well on Strictly Come Dancing. I was impressed with Caroline’s acting, she really seems to enjoy this role and it certainly suits her. Caroline Flack looks fabulous as the glamorous Irene, her costumes last night were some of the most beautiful I have seen on stage.

Polly is played by Charlotte Wakefield and she has an outstanding voice. I adored Polly’s rendition of Someone To Watch Over Me and Embraceable You. Charlotte was certainly my favourite performer last night, purely on the strength of her beautiful singing voice.

Photo by Richard Davenport
Photo by Richard Davenport

Although Neil Ditt as Bela Zangler, may have given me the most laughs. It helped that his accent was somewhat reminiscent of a certain Russian meerkat, which was fun but never silly. I think any actor that can maintain a convincing accent for the entirety of a show is super talented. Christopher Fry plays cowboy Lank Hawkins and Bobby’s love rival. He tries to win the heart of Irene (Bobby’s fiancé) once he realises that Polly, whom he has loved up until Bobbys arrival only has eyes for Bobby.

Lank and the other cowboys entertain the locals with their unique rendition of Bidin’ My Time. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the cowboys singing style, I just hope they are better at rounding cattle up. Let’s just say life moves at a different pace in the wilderness of Nevada. The cowboys style of singing certainly raised a smile from me.

With some big ol’ dance routines this show was a delight from start to finish. Full of all the joy one expects from classic musical theatre.

Once you have seen this show it’s easy to understand how it has won three Tony’s, two Drama Desk and five Outer Critics Circle awards. The sets are quite simple, with beautiful lighting that made me believe that I was watching sunsets in Nevada. I loved the musicians being on stage for the evening, the show starts with a clarinet playing, Rhapsody In Blue with a musician in silhouette. It sent shivers down my spine.

Last night, was a packed house which is always a good sign of a great show. If you get the chance to catch Crazy For You this week then do go, I had a whale of a time last night.

Book tickets Crazy for you which is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 28th October here:


#BrumHour was invited by Birmingham Hippodrome to see Crazy for You in exchange for a review. The review isn’t expected to be lovely but we are just naturally nice. This isn’t a sponsored post.