Printable CopyCRAZY FOR YOU
Therry Dramatic Society
The Arts Theatre
Until 11 Jun 2011

Review by Aaron MacDonald

Classic George & Ira Gershwin musical pastiche. Top notch production values. Brilliant performances –Brady Lloyd as lead Bobby Child, Fiona DeLaine as love interest Polly Baker and Rodney Hutton ashilarious villain Lank Hawkins.

It’s the same old story, but it’s the getting there that’s the fun – hearts broken, loves found, mistakenidentities, hilariously bad jokes and more recognisable songs than you can poke a cane at. Oh, andabout 800 tap numbers (and let’s face it, everything is better with tap dancing).

Brady Lloyd is Bobby Child, scion of the wiggest bankers in Yew Nork. Though all he wants to do is singand dance on Broadway, he is sent by his battleaxe mother (a delightful slice of ham from Pam O’Grady)to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose the mortgage on a theatre belonging to bucolic Polly Baker (FionaDeLaine). He instantly falls in love (natch) but Polly wants nothing to do with him, being the wig bankerthat he is; so he dresses up as Broadway impresario Bela Zangler (John Rosen) to put on a bigBroadway show in the Podunk town and save the theatre.

Lloyd has an absolute ball with the role; he enjoys playing it and it shows. In a way he is Bobby Child: you can tell he is just dying to burst into song and dance with every step across the stage. He’s a great performer and it’s a joy to watch. He’s got some brilliant moments and an all-round great performance.

Fiona DeLaine is charming, lovely and deadpan hilarious as Bobby’s yes-no-yes-no-yes love interest andde facto leader of the Deadrock townsfolk. She gets the standout number, the showstopping “I GotRhythm” which degenerates (like most of the other numbers) into a massive tap free-for-all.

Bobby’s impersonation ruse hits a snag when the real Bela Zangler, a Florenz Ziegfeld cardboard cutout,shows up, played bombastically by John Rosen, threatening to steal the scene every time heappears. When the two meet face-to-face (so to speak) Lloyd and Rosen chew an obscene amount ofscenery trying to out-act each other. But the pair are given a run for their money in the acting stakes bythe superb Rodney Hutton as long-suffering saloon owner and designated villain, Lank Hawkins, who isjust a moustache twirl short of tying Lillian Gish to the railroad tracks and, at one point, does (literally)eat a piece of the set. Lank, in true theatrical fashion, ends up with Bobby’s frustrated fiancée Irene,played by Michelle Nightingale, and everyone lives happily ever after. Especially the audience, who seetoo much and not enough of Nightingale’s assets in the very naughty “Naughty Baby”. Miaow!

You can’t build a good cast without a great ensemble, and the minor roles have talent in spades. LindsayProdea, Chris Stanfield and especially Jamie Richards are stellar as a trio of cowboys, and get numbersboth hilarious (“Bidin’ My Time”) and inspired (“Slap That Bass”). But the standout here is GemmaFreeman as a little Follies dancer who is all-bust, no-brain and could probably carry the entire show onher pint-sized shoulders.

The choreography is smart, sexy and inspired. Linda Williams utilises absolutely every horizontal (andsome that aren’t) surface on the stage – floors, roofs, tables, chairs, gold pans and even a car – to sticktappers on. Props, when used are synchronised and strong.

The sets are elaborate, detailed and filled with prop gags – yet there are none of the interminableblackout scene changes that plague amateur shows. Set designer Craig Williams, scene painter BrianBudgen and lighting designer Steve Tilling are responsible for this.

Mark DeLaine’s orchestra is tight and precise, as is his overall music direction. Singers and musiciansflow together well and neither overpowers the other (props to sound man Tim Freedman).

This is an excellent production, and director David Sinclair and his team should be proud of what they’vecreated. A must-see musical.