Youth on Stage: CRAZY FOR YOU at Culturehouse Martinus, Review
A good show has to have a good start. And Vaskivuori's upper secondary school's musical theatre team succeeded. The show starts with excellent live music that draws you into the upcoming story, and in the moment when you think something's ought to happen on stage, it happens: well timed coreography and keen youngsters fill the stage. Also the colors of the lighting switch as the mood of the song switches, creating complimentary colors with the dancers' outfits. Impressive start that didn't leave one cold!
Vaskivuoren lukio, is an upper secondary school or "high school" located in Vantaa, Finland that has produced once a year a huge musical production, ever since 1993. This was my second time visiting them and definitely wasn't disappointed.
I went to see the show on 15.1. and the character of Polly had a stand-in, Elli Huhtinen, due to an illness of Stella Lappalainen.
On stage we see youngsters after another with a huge potential. Early on, for example the character Bela Zangler (Veeti Laasila) gained a huge thumbs up from me with his flowy physicality and presence. There wasn't any actor who would have lacked fairly good skills for stage, I reckon. Just a general note I'd give to any young actor is not to cling too much to a certain, rehearsed way of saying or doing things- though all of us actors do it at times- but really live in the moment. Focus and get inspiration from the happenings on stage, your fellow actors, props, set designs etc. to affect your inner creativity and belief of the moment, for example.
The story itself was very interesting and kept the intensivity, leaving the audience on hook, to wonder what will happen next. The directing by Leena Gardiner is very good as the scenes are full of fine little physical details and jokes and choreography that are timed out and rehearsed well. Naturally, the timings or stoppings of the music are matched to the movements on stage too, for example when Zangler marches to the other side of the stage to his adored and recklessly goes on proposing her.
The costume design by Niina Huovinen gains another huge thumb up from me, especially the outfit of Bobby's mother (on the right-hand's side in the photo), who had a light, yellowish coat and a bluish hat, detailed with purple lipstick too. Perfect! And all the work that has gone to dressing up everyone in the huge ensemble too. The show was as extremely appealing to look at. I also enjoyed the projections on the screen.
The young aspiring artists are flexible and work as a team. Again, the music is throughout the show wonderful and I wasn't the only one in the audience who jammed with it. Thank you, live orhcestra! The tap dancing was very good too and gave a rhythm to the whole spectacle, though at times, especially when almost everyone on stage is doing it full on, the noise was a little too big for my sensitive ears.
The character Everett Baer (Emil Lindeman) stood out with his extremely good, comedic voice and rehearsed, old-man's physique that made me and others in the audience giggle every time. His appearances, comments and pauses were well directed too. Polly Baker (Elli Huhtinen, stand-in) had one of the best singing voices for sure, which gave me chills! Earlier at my acting note I talked about getting inspiration from things on stage and living in the moment and a good example is when the owner of the Hotel, Lank Hawkins (Leo Teodosin) took the Hotel sign and smashed it into pieces. His hat drop off, but he used the moment in a believable way and threw the hat in anger. Other actors joined with him into the moment, carefully giving it back. Brilliant and endearing!
The transitions of the scenes are witty and clever. Especially when they come to the old theatre and scan through it, through us, with a flashlight. Even though it was quite clear as it gets I still would have needed a line saying "Wow, the old theatre!" Maybe they wanted to stick with the original script or maybe I didn't hear the line after the big burst of applauses that were on before the scene. Also, I might be old fashioned, but really most of the curse words didn't just sound that good or believable to me, and could have been switched to more theatre-neutral adaptations of those words.
My favorite scenes and songs were Girls entering Nevada, Slap that Bass and I Got Rhythm. The scene with flirting Polly and hesitant Zangler also had good intensity. An absolute brilliance that was just an utter enjoyment to the fullest was the scene with two Zanglers! The comedic intensity and their physicality with yet again remarkable, balanced choreography (the doghouse, the shooting, how other is behind the desk as the other goes up) were just ex-cell-ent! Kudos to the choreographer Hannaleena Markkanen . I also loved the scene where O'Neill, Tšehov and Stanislavski were mentioned, though that kudos might go to the original script I guess. Anyway, entertaining, entertaining!
All in all, Vaskivuori's Crazy for You is a very good musical from these eager youngsters with loads of talent. The team is huge and the musical is made with integrity and a big heart. It'd be a show definitely worth the look and money!
Vaskivuori, I'm Crazy for You!
Vaikka olenkin espoolainen Kallion lukion alumni
Article: Rosanna Liuski
Photos: Tomi Hämäläinen