It’s hard to ignore multiple five star reviews when you are scheduling West End theatres…
Crazy For You has just opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre to some pretty wild acclaim from the London critics, with Arifa Akbar in The Guardian, Dominic Cavendish inThe Telegraph and Patrick Marmion in The Daily Mail all giving it Five Stars; and these are not necessarily easy people to please!
So will Crazy For You transfer to London?
The mark “against” is that the show was in London not that long ago… well, a decade ago, with the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production playing in 2011, and transferring that same year to the Novello Theatre.
The marks “for” are the reviews, obviously. But also that Chichester has good form in bringing its hit shows to town. One success – South Pacific – is actually in town now, at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, starring Julian Ovenden, Gina Beck and Rob Houchen, directed by Chichester artistic director Daniel Evans.
Cameron Mackintosh also brought Chichester’s smash-hit 2016 production of Half a Sixpence into town, to much acclaim. That production also starred Crazy For You lead Charlie Stemp, a Mackintosh favourite who has recently (in fact is still technically in, but taking a break from) Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre, playing Bert.
Charlie is the real smash of Crazy For You, and it’s hard to see how a producer – let’s just say Cameron – would not want to bring his performance to London. Mary Poppins is popping off on 8 January 2023, but even if Charlie plays Crazy For You before then, Louis Gaunt is currently doing a great job filling in as Bert.
In terms of where it could go, there’s a massive backlog of shows waiting to come into town, so it’s a scheduling nightmare.. But Cameron’s theatre the Noel Coward Theatre, the venue he transferred Half a Sixpence into, will be free from the end of October as Dear Evan Hansen has posted its closing notice for an 22 October 2022 exit. Or, as mentioned already, the Prince Edward – yet another Mackintosh theatre – will be free in January after Mary Poppins. There’s some nice symmetry in that given the London transfer of the Broadway production – which made Ruthie Henshall a star as Polly alongside Kirby Ward as Bobby, opened at the Prince Edward in 1993 – so it would be more or less exactly 30 years since the original London production.
That production was directed by Mike Ockrent and choreographed by Susan Stroman – who is directing and choreographing this new Chichester production. If she’s not reason enough to bring Crazy For You in to London, then we don’t know what is.
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Photo: JOHAN PERSSON