Music: Bob Gaudio
Lyric: Bob Crewe
Book: Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Director: Des McAnuff
Reviewer: Daryl Holden
In this day and age, there are so many different tastes for the theatre that it’s rare to find something that builds up a true following by almost everyone. Even rarer then, is to find something that lives up to said hype. Luckily, Jersey Boys does exactly that, and it couldn’t be more spectacular.
Following the rise, life and somewhat fall of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons, Jersey Boys finds its rhythm in doing not only this but also showing us the personal lives of each of the original band members and what went on once they left the safety of the spotlights. This all results in an electric mix of love, loss, money and music, only further improved upon by the running narratives from each of the Seasons throughout.
If the script itself isn’t enough to keep you beggin’ for more, then there is plenty present in this show to appeal to all theatre goers… If for nothing else, you’re here for the music, and that is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. With classics including Walk Like A Man, Sherry and Oh What A Night, from the opening to the finishing number, what Jersey Boys excels at is making these pre-existing songs work for the story they want to tell rather than the other way around. These songs may be considered old-fashioned by some, but they’re still as popular as ever, with the vast majority of the audience singing along whenever they can. And the voices singing these songs on the stage itself are just as enthusiastic. These guys may not be the original Four Seasons, but they’re not far off the mark. At times, you’d believe you’re listening to a recording from back in the day if you couldn’t see their mouths move. The sound is so raw and authentic that it makes this piece so much more than just some karaoke with a script thrown in between; it’s an ode to times gone by and a clever way to tell a story.
Each of the Seasons are expertly crafted characters that are impressively accurate imitations of their real-life counterparts. These four get on like a house on fire and while individually, each are impressive in acting and musical ability, when they come together it is a force to be reckoned with, and you can’t help but crack a smile and sing along. Similarly, the same is true of all the secondary characters as well. You never find yourself questioning any of their intentions or actions, which only adds to the authenticity and immersion this piece so easily accomplishes.
Complimenting all of this, is an equally incredible, versatile and impressive set (Klara Zeiglerova ) and lighting design (Howell Binkley) that denotes the tone, location and emotion of each scene perfectly. Not only this but it has been so well designed and brought to life that when it all works in conjunction with one another we believe that that piece of Perspex is the window in a radio studio. We believe that the almost blinding lights are that of some of the biggest stages America has to offer. The use of two-storeyed staging opens up more possibilities for imagery and spotlights than you would have thought possible, and the inclusion of some ingenious projection work, especially in the TV recording scenes where the band is playing to a camera, then shown in 60’s grained TV style above only continues to impress. We are fully immersed at this point. We believe that we are there alongside the band themselves, and to be able to pull that way of thinking off is no mean feat.
Jersey Boys knows what its strengths are and plays to them perfectly. A mix of truly well established and realised set, lighting, acting and perhaps most of all, music, adds up to a night at the theatre that is sure to please even the biggest sceptics amongst the ranks of the audience. If this is what the standard is for the so-called, “Jukebox Musical”, then you’ll be wondering why there isn’t more people clawing at the doors to be able to throw in another dime.
Runs until 20 January 2018 | Image: Contributed