Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 14th 2013 Contents B29
July 14, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Crazy for You
Produced by Must Come See Productions
Music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira
Gershwin; book by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Debra Boucaud-Mason
A REVIEW BY SHIVANEE RAMLOCHAN
On July 5, Queen s Hall resounded with the
stomping of cowboy boots and the chorus
calls of showgirls in the Nevada sticks, as Must
Come See Productions presented Crazy for
You, a 1993 romantic Broadway musical. The
play was co-conceived by Ken Ludwig and
Mike Ockrent, and used music and lyrics writ-
ten by George and Ira Gershwin.
Crazy for You was directed by Debra Bou-
caud-Mason and featured the musical direction
and conducting of Jessel Murray.
Crazy for You s premise is formatted for
straight-to-stage slapstick romantic comedy.
It focuses on the brash Bobby Child (played
by Isaiah Alexander), uninterested heir to his
family s prosperous bank. Bobby s aspirations
lean towards the theatre and he dreams of
impressing the dramatic producing magnate
Bela Zangler (Michailean Taylor). When Bobby
is mandated by his mother Lottie (Germaine
Wilson) to foreclose on a derelict theatre in
the rural backwater of Deadrock, Nevada, he
scarcely knows he ll meet the love of his life,
Deadrock s sunny postmistress and plucky
heroine, Polly Baker (Kendra Sylvester Flores).
Bobby is up against no shortage of challenges
in trying to win Polly s adoration through rein-
stating Deadrock s Gaiety Theatre to its former
glory: Polly s irate would-be beau Lank
Hawkins (Anton Brewster); Bobby s own
demanding fiancée Irene Roth (Kimberly
Jones)---not to mention the spirited resistance
of Polly herself. Will Bobby be able to marshal
his resources, save the Gaiety Theatre and win
Polly s heart?
Choreographed by Adele Bynoe, the pro-
duction showcased several lively tap num-
bers---beginning with Bobby gamely tapping
his heart out in an audition for Bela Zangler
to the song K-ra-zy for You, to the full house
finale in Act Two, performed by the entire
company with cheery aplomb.
If this indication of a happy ending acts as
a spoiler to the events within Crazy for You,
it really shouldn t---nothing about this play
presents even a moment of intellectual con-
sternation. Feel-good vitality is what the script
possesses in droves, without a whit of intro-
spection. The unfolding of this comedy of
errors delves deep into slapstick treatment,
steering clear of satirical heft or moral inter-
The cast was commendably outfitted to
reflect the disparate social standings of New
York glitz versus Nevada homespun charm.
Costuming choices were overseen by Andrew
Seepersad, who opted to garb the Follies, Zan-
gler s bevy of chorus girls, in a series of colour-
ful and/or sequin-studded numbers in a wise
reflection of musical theatre s glittery osten-
Lighting, managed by Knolly Whiskey, also
worked best when highlighting the New
York/Nevada contrast. In the penultimate
scene, a morose Bobby stands before a back-
drop of the Zangler Theatre, the lighting an
apt purple hue, underscoring his emotional
The live accompanying orchestra, conducted
by Jessel Murray and featuring the use of key-
board, reeds, guitars, trumpet, trombone and
percussion, was in outstanding form. Enthu-
siastically performing the Gershwin brothers
score, the band occasionally overpowered the
singing efforts of Crazy for You s cast, notably
those performers assigned supporting roles.
Property and head set builders Anika Best
and Byron Joseph constructed a wonderfully
interactive Deadrock Main Street, complete
with Lank s Saloon and Hotel and the disused
Gaiety Theatre. Their clever use of space, in
formatting a pair of building storefronts, max-
imised cast interaction with the set, leading
to several comedic interactions on its balcony,
landing and shaky side steps. (However, there
was only a projected background for the New
York scenes, and no set.)
As the frequently irksome, quasi-loveable
Bobby Child, Isaiah Alexander excelled, tap-
ping, singing and sometimes overacting his
heart out to the audience. His incarnation of
Child was both credible and comical, which,
for a romantic musical devoid of any substantial
anchoring depth, signalled a laudable coup.
The production s brightest star, however,
was undeniably the dynamic and intuitive
performance of Kendra Sylvester Flores as
Polly Barker, a role decidedly less than Sylvester
Flores talent merits. As an audience member
eagerly remarked during intermission, Sylvester
Flores steals every scene she s in with her
powerful singing, her immersive dedication
to Polly s gumption and grit, her electric stage
presence and her poise.
A less accomplished Polly would have dulled
Crazy for You s impact significantly, rendering
it a charming yet forgettable foray into fluffy
theatrical high jinks. Sylvester Flores s rendition
helped pull it up short of slinking towards
Crazy For You ran at Queen s Hall, St Ann s,
from July 4-7.
Some books have subtle messages, some
books bring epiphanies and some books just
haunt you into facing something you ve always
known deep down but just couldn t put your
finger on it.
For me, Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy
Tan, our current Sunday Arts Section (SAS)
Book Club choice, made me realise something
important about the "perfect" vacation: It
doesn t exist.
We save our money, pour it into a vacation,
play out the entire vacation in our heads, and
chances are the vacation never lives up to our
This is the realisation that Bibi Chen---the
narrator of Saving Fish from Drowning---led
me to when she narrated the story of a vacation
package to China and Myanmar she had
planned for herself and some tourists.
Bibi Chen s motley group of tourists also
bring up many questions about relationships.
Take Harry, the egocentric, macho man who
makes all the wrong moves but still gets the
girl in Tan s novel.
Reading about Harry would likely stir up
many questions about vacations and relation-
1. Do vacations make us see people in a
2. Do vacations make us more tolerant
towards obnoxious people like Harry?
3. Can any relationship that develops in
an artificial circumstance like a vacation really
4. Are we the same person on vacation as
we are at home, or are we more adventuresome
when we feel no one is looking?
5. What do we really take away from vaca-
tions? Is it the sights we see or the people we
Join us in the SAS Book Club group on
Facebook to talk about Saving Fish from
Drowning. Do you have a book that made you
think differently about another culture or
vacations? Post your thoughts!
For those of you who are travelling, here
are upcoming selections for the SAS Book
• And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled
Hosseini. The latest novel by the author of
The Kite Runner presents Afghanistan in a
whole new light. Hosseini s third novel is as
poignant and painful as his first two. With
strong themes about family and loyalty, Hos-
seini transcends culture to connect to readers
• The Dream of the Celt, by Mario Vargas
Llosa. Peruvian Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas
Llosa presents historical fiction in this story
of the Irish nationalist Roger Casement who
was hanged by the British for treason in 1916.
This novel makes readers question what they
stand for in this world. It is available in Spanish
as well as English.
• The President s Hat, by Antoine Laurain.
This funny French novel, recently translated
into English by Gallic Press, tells the story of
a man who decides to pick up the late French
President Francois Mitterand s hat. The hat
goes on an adventure of its own in this unlikely
and unusual story.
• The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell. In
1923, Rose Baker documents police stories of
crime in New York City. Everything changes
when another typist comes into her space.
Debunking the dream
of the 'perfect' vacation
Deadrock's sunny postmistress and plucky
heroine, Polly Baker (Kendra Sylvester Flores).
PHOTO COURTESY DARYL STEELE/ MUST COME
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