CRAZY FOR YOU at His Majesty’s Theater
The disappointment of the cancellation of WAAPA’s mid-2020 musical was just a distant memory as they roared with a forceful rendition of CRAZY FOR YOU. This is WAAPA’s first production to premiere at His Majesty’s Theater, and the third-year cast and crew showcased all of their talents in this upbeat and entertaining production.
While you might expect newcomers to musical theater to have a bunch of talent,
the cast of CRAZY FOR YOU was truly exceptional. Chloe Malek was irresistible as Polly, showing a true triple threat skill set. It’s always a daunting task to sing a song that the audience knows (CRAZY FOR YOU contains several well-known songs), but Malek gave as good a performance as one will ever be able to see while singing. Someone to watch me and Kiss you in what were two more memorable parts of the show. Equally impressive was James MacAlpine as Bobby. Bobby’s story arc is humorous but frustrating at times, but MacAlpine’s portrayal was warm and endearing throughout. There was a strong response to his singing of Good job if you can get it, not only for his excellent vocals, but also for the way he brought his character to this point in the series.
The set was full of excellent performances, and it’s hard to distinguish many others, especially in such a large cast. Kyle Hall was a solid Bela Zangler, and the scene where Bela and Bobby mirror each other was perfectly executed in a particularly humorous moment. Hall’s comedic timing was superb throughout but really came through in this sequence. Juno Sertorio as Bela’s love interest, Tess, was another standout performance, and Sertorio and Hall seemed to have real chemistry in their romance. Another love story, between Irene (Amber Scates) and Lank (Thomas Lerk) leaned more towards the comedic, and the two performed their roles perfectly to attract audiences and make them laugh.
Much of the creative work was done by 3rd year production and design students, and they too deserve a mention. Of particular note is the work of costume designer Elyse McAuliffe; Not only were the CRAZY FOR YOU costumes perfect, it was impossible to avoid the positive response from the audience as the costumes dominated the conversations as the audience left. The entire backstage crew, however, deserves praise, as no part of the show had a “student” feel. Any of the cast or production crew could fit right into any major show, it seems.
While the 3rd year students are the focus of the show, director Crispin Taylor deserves praise for the work he did to make the show bright and energetic. The show is fairly faithful to the original production, but the cast of talented college students have always been able to bring their own creative flair to the scene. Jayne Smeulders’ choreography is exceptional, especially given the large ensemble and non-stop nature of the show. The Matthew Raven-designed layered set perfectly defines every scene while allowing for quick and easy transitions. The 31-piece orchestra (also made up of students) was exceptional under the musical direction of Tim Cunniffe, and the lighting designed by Lucy Birkinshaw suited the sets perfectly, with the lighting being all the backdrop in some of the rooms. scenes.
What’s most memorable about CRAZY FOR YOU are the endings. Act I ends with the song of the city I have rhythm, another well known song bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Likewise, the finale is a perfect ending to the show with the entire cast combining not only to close the story, but also to bring a smile to the audience. The two centerpiece finals would be pretty much worth the tickets on their own, but the whole show is full of outstanding actors, great vocals and energetic and well-executed dances, not to mention the fact that it s. is a real comedy. You would hardly realize that most of the work for CRAZY FOR YOU has been done by students, and if these actors and this team are the future of Australian theater, then the future is bright.
CRAZY FOR YOU is at His Majesty’s Theater until June 17th. Perth Theater Trust