Tuesday, May 28

Crazy For You – Hull New Theatre

I love the sound of hordes of dancers tap dancing en masse on a theatre’s wooden stage. So, I was in my element witnessing just that when Hessle Theatre Company brought its production of Crazy For You to the Hull New Theatre on Tuesday night.

Riverdance eat your heart out.

I’d already had the privilege of watching this talented crew in their final run rehearsal, so had more than an inkling of what to expect.

What I didn’t expect were the most glorious costumes reminiscent of Vegas showgirls – sequins, feathers and huge head-dresses, all in various shades of pinks, creams and turquoise.

Crazy For You is a musical, set in the 1930s, so glitter and glamour should have come as no surprise; but it was the sheer beauty of the outfits that amazed me.

The feel-good story centres around wannabe dancer Bobby Child (Ben Bailey) and Deadrock, Nevada theatre owner’s daughter Polly Baker (Elinor Kirby).

Bobby, sent to Deadrock by his banker mother, (Gina Garton), has instructions to close down a local theatre behind with its mortgage payments.

The theatre is owned by Polly’s father, Everett (Kevin Hickson) who is reluctant to lose the building in which his late wife performed on stage.

Famous theatre impresario Bela Zangler (Ian Appleyard) has continually dismissed Bobby’s efforts to impress with his dancing skills which, eventually, leads to all sorts of shenanigans in Deadrock – also home to a bunch of lazy cowboys.

The most energetic local is hotel owner Lank Hawkins (Richard Foot) whose efforts to buy the foreclosing theatre while also trying to entertain two English guests provided us in the audience with many laughs, thanks to Foot’s comic moves.

It is love at first sight for Bobby when he lays eyes on Polly; but when she finds out he is from the bank closing her dad’s theatre, he is in big trouble.

Bobby goes to extraordinary lengths to win her love – even impersonating Zangler; an impersonation that nearly puts paid to his amorous plans.

One of the cleverest and funniest scenes on the night is when the real Zangler and Bobby’s version of him, get together. I honestly couldn’t tell them apart.

It is a happy ending all round, thank goodness; and that includes us in the audience.

These amateur performers exuded breathtaking energy. The joyful production was full of colour, in contrast to the backdrop of brown wooden shacks.

My glossy programme reveals around 20 songs were sung – many Gershwin classics, including Someone To Watch Over Me (sung beautifully by Kirby as Polly), I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me (an equally good rendition by Bailey as Bobby) and Embraceable You (sung by both) to name just a few.

Both leads had wonderful singing voices, accompanied by the most rousing music from talented musicians down in the orchestra pit.

And both played their parts to perfection – Kirby’s beautiful smile lit up the stage while Bailey’s comedy antics had us in stitches. Both are seriously talented – Kirby has the voice of an angel and Bailey is a whizz-kid in tap shoes.

I must praise the choreography which involved everyone on stage on the night and included sequences involving thick ropes and pick axes; very clever.

These local performers have once again proved they are a theatrical force to be reckoned with.

Well done to all concerned.

Running until Saturday, March 23rd, 2024, with 7.30pm performances up to and including Friday, 22nd, and 2pm & 7pm performance on Saturday, 23rd. Tickets cost from £13.50. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk

Reviewer: Jackie Foottit

Reviewed: 19th March 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.