Crazy For You – New Wimbledon Theatre

Crazy For You is currently playing at the New Wimbledon Theatre from 6th – 10th March. This highly acclaimed musical has received great reviews for both the high energy of performances throughout and the superbly talented actor-musician cast.

Tom Chambers of ‘Strictly’ fame plays the role of Bobby Child, a New York dancer whose wealthy family have great expectations for him. The storyline sees us heading to Deadrock, Nevada where he is tasked with closing a failing theatre. He meets Polly, played by Charlotte Wakefield, a passionate and head strong daughter of the theatres owner and they want to put on a show to stop the theatre from closing.

3. CRAZY FOR YOU. Tom Chambers 'Bobby' and Company. Richard Davenport.

We follow Bobby and Polly as they get to work, which result in their feelings for one another, mistaken identities and some unexpected fights along the way! Having seen several actor-musician productions before, I have always enjoyed seeing the cast being involved with every aspect on the show. However the Crazy For You cast take this to a new level – the majority of the cast play numerous instruments throughout the show, including choreography with their instruments – great work!

If you enjoy shows with high energy, a humourous love interest and lots of comedy – this is the show for you. From my observations from the audience, the show attracts both the younger and older generations. The show features plenty of hits including ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’, ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘I Got Rhythm’. Both generations enjoyed the comedic timing throughout which includes many one-liners and provided us lots of laughs throughout.

6. CRAZY FOR YOU. Tom Chambers 'Bobby' and Charlotte Wakefield 'Polly' and Company. Photo Richard Davenport.

Claire Sweeney also stars in the show as Irene, Bobby’s fiancé and whilst her stage time is somewhat limited, her presence was always suitably felt on stage and she was incredibly convincing in her solo of ‘Naughty Baby’.

From my own perspective I found Tom Chambers a little too ‘clean’ at times and would have preferred a grittier performance for the character of Bobby. His dancing was good, albeit I don’t consider the tap dancing has come naturally to him despite his previous work including Strictly Come Dancing and Top Hat.

It’s a fabulous show which deserves its continued success and reviews it receives. The show plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 10th March before continuing with the remainder of its UK tour. Further information about the show can be found here.



Young Frankenstein – Garrick Theatre, London

Young Frankenstein follows the smash hit musical, The Producers which I understand was not so well received by Broadway audiences. However Mel Brooks has rejuvenated and refreshed this musical which is a roaring success with West End audiences and will have your sides splitting from the hilarity and jokes this musical brings.

The plot of the show is very much the same as the 1974 film, Fronkensteen returns to Transylvania in the old castle where he takes up his grandfathers hated hobby of reviving corpses with electricity. Sounds odd – but it works. The musical itself starts in the science lab where he is trying everything in which to escape the legacy left by his grandfather. However before he knows it he is back at his grandfathers estate to create his very own monster.


Hadley Fraser forms an almighty double act with his servant Igor, played by Cory English with a hump that just will not stay put. Summer Strallen is the blonde bombshell Inga, a lab assistant whose frontal assets are evoked in Fronkensteen’s line when referring to the medieval door to the castle as ‘What knockers’! Strallen welcomes audiences by rolling abound in a hay car pulled by two stage dobbins which had the audience won over in seconds.


Lesley Joseph plays the mysterious housekeeper Frau Blucher whose name alone causes the horses to whine at the very mention of her name. Joseph sings ‘He vas my boyfriend’ which a confessional passion and one which shows another side to this talented actress who has graced both the stage and screen. Understudy Emily Squibb was on for Elizabeth who really strengthened the theatrical talent on stage with stunning vocal performances throughout and in my favourite of her performances – a side splitting rendition of ‘Tits’. Yep – that’s right, Tits.

The show is full of humour throughout from the first number until curtain call. It isn’t particularly clever but it is pure silliness throughout and which transports the audience to disconnect from reality and enjoy the show for exactly what it is. Expect many innuendos and parades and there delighted us throughout. The often cheesy choreography was there to further add to the horror of the monster and the funny bone tickling nature of this show!

The staging of the show including the set and lighting design serve to create an exciting atmosphere and compliments the performances of the entire cast throughout the production. With pyrotechnics and passageways there was never a moment when the show felt dull – it packed a punch for the right reasons.

Young Frankenstein is a musical that allows the audience to enjoy the show and simply just laugh at what it is. It isn’t serious but it knows it is good and is often crude – but works…perfectly.

Well done all and I look forward to watching it again very soon. Further information including how to book tickets can be found here.


Les Misérables – Queens Theatre, London

Les Misérables has to be one of the most recognised musicals the West End has and for a show that has been playing for more than 30 years, I was pleased to see a full audience on a Tuesday evening. The production itself shows no signs of slowing down and looks to continue for many more years with a huge fanbase following!

With the hugely successful film adaptation making the story familiar to many of us, I am not at all surprised the show continues to draw in big crowds and continues to play in many countries across the globe.

Much of the energy for this show comes from the delivery by the current cast. Killian Donnelly plays John Valjean who brings a powerful yet touching character. ‘Bring Him Home’ resulted in a number of audience members crying from Killians perfect vocals for this song.


I had wanted to see this production for a number of years and it is clear to see why it continues to attract a large audience. However I felt that the production felt rushed during the majority of Act 1, this heightened even more so by the revolve continually being used.  At times I found it difficult to focus on a particular cast member as the set and cast were continually moving. Having watching the filmed I had a good understanding of the show already, however if it hadn’t been for me seeing the film I believe I would have struggled to follow the storyline.

The set itself is simplistic yet I was pleasantly surprised with the clever use of set for the barricade. I particularly enjoyed the slow motion sequences which whilst simple, it was extremely effective and touching to the store,  getting across to the audience the emotion of the production.

The continued success of this shows comes from its famous score and a number of songs which are known, even by those whom may have not seen much musical theatre or have knowledge of Les Miserables. The live orchestra for this production complemented the score perfectly although I found the drums to sound out of place with the rest of the music.

The show comes across as a well run production however because I felt the performance was compromised because of the rushed pace, speed and over use of the revolve and this made me enjoyment of the performance decrease as I didn’t feel the audience could connect emotionally with the story.


Follies, National Theatre – London

It’s been quite some time since I last visited the theatre, so it was an absolute treat for me to watch Follies last Friday, which currently plays at The National Theatre on London’s Southbank.

Being the theatrical type, it is hard not to have already heard of follies over the years as it features some extremely stagey musical numbers which even those who don’t enjoy or get to watch much musical theatre would have heard before.

For those who are unfamiliar with Follies, let’s get ourselves acquainted…


It shares the story of showgirls from Weismann’s Follies (based on Ziegfield’s), who attend a reunion held in the crumbling theatre where they once danced in front of the spotlights to packed out audiences. Two unhappy couples Buddy (Peter Forbes) and Sally (Imelda Staunton) and Ben (Philip Quast) and Phyllis (Jane Dee) all reconnect that night. We find out Sally was in love with Ben then and still is. As they recall and share their memories from years gone by, the past may just come back to haunt them.

They perform their old numbers and with epic performances from Di Botcher’s Broadway Baby, Tracie Bennett’s I’m Still Here and saving the best until last, Imelda Staunton’s Losing My Mind – its a production to remember with a very worthy stand in ovation at the curtain call.

Often shows consider not having an interval as they may feel it will break the atmosphere and tension that has built throughout the production. Follies is precisely one of the shows that doesn’t have an interval! It had myself and my husband discussing why they had chosen this and whether this would have resulted in a lot of people heading for the loos half way through. However, I barely noticed anyone leaving their seats as the audience were so focussed on the show.


The Follies set has been well thought out and depicts a crumbling theatre perfectly and with atmospheric lighting it gives the perfect ‘worn’ effect. The performance is staged upon a revolve that quite literally doesn’t stop revolving for the first 20 – 30 minutes of the show, which at first I found a little off putting. However once I managed to focus on who was singing or going through their dialogue, I was able to keep up.  If anything, the revolve could have been slowed down or to refrain from it continually spinning round!



With a cast of 37 and and an orchestra of 21 – this production gives everything – and more which is why I have given a 5 star rating. It was once of the most spectacular musical theatre experiences I have had and worthy of the stand in ovation at the curtain call! There will soon be a live broadcast to cinemas, which I hope to get to see!


Thoroughly Modern Mille – Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Thoroughly Modern Millie hit The Churchill Theatre stage this week with a talented cast including Strictly Come Dancing star, Joanne Clifton playing the star of the show, Millie Dilmount. With an energetic buzz throughout and a heartwarming storyline, it delighted audience members but at times lacked the oomph this show needed.

Throughly Modern Millie tells the story of Mille, a country girl that makes her way to New York in pursuit of a husband. Whilst there much happens to her and as she finds herself getting to grips in the city that never sleeps, she unfortunately finds herself becoming entwined with an interesting and oddly humorous white slavery storyline.


I was intrigued to hear Joanne Clifton was playing the lead as Millie, as it can often be a disappointment when TV stars don’t live up to your expectations of musical theatre professionals. However Joanne was perfect for this role with a superb voice that showcased her vast vocal range and her stage presence, which was felt right throughout the theatre. The casting of this show is great, with Luca Rush playing a side splitting performance as Mrs Meers, and others performances played by Sam Barrett as Jimmy and Graham MacDuff delivering a lively and lifelike drunk as Trevor Graydon. It appeared he had obviously ad-libbed a little further than he should on the press night as it resulted in Joanne trying to refrain from laughing as he got more and more drunk. However it failed and she burst into laughter and a huge applause and cheer from the audience was felt!


This production had the glitz and glamour this storyline needed, with a case made up of talented musical theatre actors/actresses and plenty of foot tapping action throughout. During some scenes it did feel slightly stagnant and I personally felt it needed more pace to keep the momentum of the show going. I enjoyed the setting of this production and whilst it was rather basic, it didn’t overshadow the performances as shows often rely on the grandness of a set rather than the natural abilities of those involved. However for scenes where the dialogue was translated by a small projection, it became hard to read and understand what was being said in the subtitles, which also meant the audience focus wasn’t on the performance and it took something away from this.


It did appear a tap click track was used for some of the dance scenes which did let down the freshness of the performance, especially during some tap numbers. You cant beat the real thing – especially when you have a dancer as the lead!


I enjoyed this show, it had everything it needed to delight the audience and we all left with a feel good atmosphere at the end of the performance. The performances from all involved were a pleasure to watch and review!

The show continues its performances at The Churchill until Saturday 10th June 2017 and continues its tour – further details and tickets can be found here.