Star-studded cast brings Gershwin magic to life at superb Regent show

Crazy For You starring Claire Sweeney, Tom Chambers and Charlotte Wakefield. Picture: WATERMILL THEA

Crazy For You starring Claire Sweeney, Tom Chambers and Charlotte Wakefield. Picture: WATERMILL THEATRE - Credit: Archant

Crazy for You at the Ipswich Regent, all week until Saturday.

Before Mamma Mia. Before We Will Rock You. Before Sunshine on Leith. Before all the others, the original “Juke Box Musical” was this great celebration of the works of George and Ira Gershwin.

The music may have come from Hollywood’s Golden Era, but the show itself was only put together in 1992 as a way of celebrating the Gershwins’ work – and has since been a success all over the world.

The latest production touring the country arrived in Ipswich last night with a truly star-studded cast.

Strictly Come Dancing winner (and Casualty star) Tom Chambers showed he’s putting the skills learned during his time in Britain’s favourite reality TV show to good use as leading man Bobby Child.

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And Claire Sweeney has joined the cast for the current run as Irene Roth and Charlotte Wakefield is an enchanting Polly Baker.

As in most juke box musicals, the storyline is pretty thin, but frankly who cares?

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The music is superb. The singing and dancing is top-notch and the whole production oozes class.

I’ve seen the show before (an amateur production as I recall) but I didn’t remember as being as sparklingly funny as this evening at the Regent.

I don’t know whether new comedy routines have been added for this production – or whether the cast was given freer rein to milk the funny lines.

Whatever the reason, it really helps make the production more entertaining on every level – and was clearly loved by an appreciative first-night audience at the Regent.

This touring production from the Watermill Theatre in Newbury features a talented ensemble who play their musical instruments – rather like the Rock n Roll Pantos we have come to love down the road at the New Wolsey.

It really is a superb show all around – I’m sure many more people were leaving the Regent humming Gershwin’s greatest hits to themselves.

Over recent years the Regent really has managed to put itself on the map for superb touring musicals like this, and over the next few months there are some great shows coming to town.

Crazy for You has certainly raised the bar very high for those which follow.

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