Review by Danny Gaisin
The bane of a writer is when one can‘t find the perfect word, noun or adjective, to describe something. Occasionally we create our own, hence, the banner-line! Stratford’s (& the directorial team of Donna Feore and Shelley Hanson) version of The Gershwin musical CRAZY FOR YOU is about as perfect an example of entertainment that this writer has ever enjoyed. Portent: – an O.A.R. TOP TEN certainty! From the opening pre-Nevada scene, Josh Franklin sings, dances and acts as though ‘Bobby Child’ is the man’s ‘inner child’. Photo courtesy of Cylla Von Tiedemann
To see such moves performed so effortlessly is remarkable, even to a non-dancer as yours truly. Every motion is tuneful. Unquestionably able to hold her own with nim is the diminutive Natalie Daradich. She may be slightly challenged vertically, (like me!) but she’s as dynamic as nitroglycerine and just as impressive. The young lady has a 1,000 watt smile that even carries over into her singing.
Solid support is contributed by Tom Rooney as Zangler; the Zeigfield-ish character, and especially Robin Hutton & Kayla James. Among the chorus members, there are a few whose energy and commitment is obvious…Alexandra Herzog; and Sean Hauk, they possess that something extra that makes them stand out.
Feore has focused on the play’s visual as well as musical interpretation. But given her background, her choreography is intricate; perfectly choreographed and impacting as to necessitate a word like ‘dancical’. The pace’s intensity such that it becomes a propos for the denizens of Deadrock to be lethargic; if only between numbers. Her blocking and full-stage utilization methodology could be a credit course at Sheridan!
Each major chorus number seems to outdo the one it follows. “Slap that bass” zoom zooms with energy; the ‘Embraceable you’ reading has the audience humming along, and then the blockbuster “I got Rhythm” that closes Act I will have spectators singing to themselves until the curtain goes back up!
In keeping with Stratford standards, the sets and especially the costumes are of Broadway or Mirvish quality; this effort could even be something brought here by DANCAP. We overheard on exiting, a couple talking about how their hand-hairs tingled from time to time. That folks, defines theatre.
We loved it, we recommend it and even go so far as to almost insist you don’t exit without buying the CD; you’ll indubitably want to play it on the way home.
CRAZY FOR YOU is at Stratford’s Festival Theatre