Book: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music: Bob Gaudio
Lyrics: Bob Crewe
Director: Das McAnuff
Reviewer: Abbie Rippon
Oh What a Night! This week it really feels like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons have arrived at the Regent Theatre in Stoke. Telling the story of this legendary group, Jerseys Boys follows the lives of Frankie, Nick, Tommy and Bob as they climb the ladder to stardom.
Soundtracked by their greatest hits, this show is a real toe-tapper. Hits like Sherry, Walk Like a Man and Big Girls Don’t Cry have the audience boogying in their seats. The actors who play the iconic foursome have real stage presence, stepping onto the stage in their signature red jackets. Michael Watson’s range is phenomenal replicating Valli’s falsetto immaculately. James Winter, as Bob Gaudio, has a wonderful, rich, smooth tone to his voice and the four-piece worked superbly together blending beautifully in complex four-part harmony.
The four principles hold the audience rapt, Simon Bailey as Tommy De Vito is a real Jersey charmer, playing the trickster with charisma while Karl James Wilson as Nick Massi wins over his audience bringing out the comedy of his role as the ‘Ringo’ of the Four Seasons.
The direction and staging mimic the style of the band’s legendary performances. Choreographed, slick, regimented and smooth running. However, the show does feel somewhat segmented with dialogue shoehorned within the songs to show the passage of time. This cut and paste feel to some sections of the show leaves the audience feeling a little detached from the characters and their journeys. Some characters are there and gone in the blink of an eye, and one is left not knowing who they are and what their part is in the story. However, one does appreciate that it is complicated to fit 40 years into a two-hour production and the audience forgives this.
The design by Klara Zieglerova is simple but effective with costumes reflecting the era. The use of truss surrounding the stage adds to the feel of watching the Four Seasons on tour. Locations change quickly and simply using light and minimal set to set the scene.
At times, the sound levels need adjustment; there are moments when harmonies are lost particularly when the female ensemble are singing. There are a few other technical elements that need addressing, watching this on press night the audience is content that this will all be resolved for future performances. It doesn’t prevent the rapturous applause after each memorable hit is performed from the groups substantial back catalogue.
On the whole Jersey Boys proves a cracking night out, with songs that will stick in your head for days. The show might not move you to tears; however, it will have you dancing all the way home.
Runs until Saturday 17th February | Image: Contributed