Friday 28 July 1995
As pointed out by literary specialists and comedy duo par excellence Lip Service in Withering Looks, Laurence Olivier pined for the love of Merle Oberon with the immortal phrase "Kithee... oh, Kithee" in the movie version. Hollywood has an unassailable record in picking up hot properties and rendering them almost unrecognisable.
The 1957 movie version of Funny Face, the Gershwins' musical smash of 1927, was turned into a vehicle for the gazelle-like Audrey Hepburn, whose heartstopping transformation from gaucherie to grace almost makes you forget the score.
A quarter of a century later, leggy Lesley Hornby, aka Twiggy, and lanky Tommy Tune, arrived in a "new" Broadway musical, My One and Only. Surprise! It was yet another revision with a score cobbled together from the original plus a stack of other songs by the brothers Gershwin.
Tonight sees the 1,000th performance of the London run of Crazy for You (right), the glorious "all-new" Gershwin musical which began as Girl Crazy back in 1930, which was turned into three films, most famously with Judy Garland and (inevitably) Mickey Rooney. Few are aware that there was also a 1965 version, When the Boys Meet the Girls, whose never-to- be-repeated (we hope) line-up included Connie Francis, Louis Armstrong, Herman's Hermits and Liberace.
While waiting for this gem to be re-released, you could do no better than to see Crazy for You. The revamped book is a bit of a mess, but the score is sublime, the staging re-defines over-the-top and Susan Stroman's eye-stretching choreography makes you believe that Busby Berkeley is alive and well and living on Old Compton Street.
'Crazy for You' is at the Prince Edward Theatre, London W1 (0171-734 8951)
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