Book: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music: Bob Gaudio
Lyrics: Bob Crewe
Director: Des McAnuff
Doo wopping its way into Bradford until 19th March, Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical following Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons journey from the streets of New Jersey to the Hall of Fame. Their journey to stardom takes them through periods of time in prison, various debts, family death, mob connections and of course, music making. If the band famed for being the soundtrack of a generation is not from your generation, don’t worry, there’s little chance their music by Bob Gaudio has passed you by with songs such as Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes off You, and Walk Like A Man amongst the line up.
The show is narrated by each of the Four Seasons which works well and brings different perspectives to the story telling. Gaudio’s music is without doubt the highlight of this musical, the plot, although deep and interesting at times, often feels a little tokenistic as we are rushed through the story to make way to the next great song.
The acting and storytelling sometimes feels a little flat and two dimensional, particularly in the first third of the performance. In parts the strong Jersey accent feels it takes precedence over expression and emotion.
Luke Suri as Frankie Valli is a joy to watch, he is full of energy and engaging from the start. His vocals are outstanding in replicating Valli’s huge vocal range and famed falsetto. The singers work well together forming the beautiful tight harmonies the band are so renowned for. Lewis Griffiths as Nick Massi treats us to some lovely, rich, low vocal tones.
The highlights of the show are without doubt, simply watching the band perform the incredible music. There are some nice scenes where the band are filmed and projected above and late in the first half the they turn, presenting the idea that the audience are ‘backstage’. This really shifts the perspective and creates one of the most engaging parts of the show.
The set is simple, adaptable and functional. The scaffold depicts the prison scenes well and acts as a constant reminder of the past and ongoing fates. A screen allows for quick venue changes throughout and props and vehicles are wheeled on to change the scene. The drummer and kit are able to move across the stage and often forms a focal point – it’s a great addition to see musicians on stage throughout.
A great night for fans of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons but if you aren’t a seasoned fan it feels luke warm. A pleasant enough evening, but nothing to shout about.
Runs until 19th March