Theatre Review: Jersey Boys
oh, what a night!
First of all, let me just say that if you ever get the opportunity to see Jersey Boys then please, please do. An inviting and uplifting stage show that provides the ultimate feel-good factor and will give you serious happy vibes and, not to mention, the music is downright infectious. I will almost guarantee you will be singing Big Girls Don’t Cry all the way home (or practicing months beforehand if you’re sad like me).
If you don’t know what Jersey Boys is all about then I shall enlighten you. Essentially, it is based on the (true) life events of how a group of young dreamers from Jersey became the musical sensations of the era, better known as, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. A rags to riches musical sensation projected as a docu-style show in which the actors in turn speak directly to the audience taking us back to the 1960’s.
The Jersey Boys theatre show is classed as being a jukebox musical: a musical or stage show that represents and includes music from popular culture or uses pre-existing songs and content for the purposes of entertainment.
I had never seen or even heard of the show before watching Jersey Boys the movie last year – courtesy of Mr Eastwood’s handy work. After that, I knew I just had to see the stage production if I could, luckily for me, it was coming to Scotland.
I saw this version of Jersey Boys as part of the UK tour in Glasgow on Friday 13th (Oooooh) of April at The King’s Theatre. Now, I know King’s is an antique building and all of that, but boy is it uncomfortable. We sat in the upper circle which was very tight knit and roasting hot – do not expect to have proper use of your legs or rear end if you see anything in this theatre. The view was OK, minus the occasional rustling about which, I guess is to be expected. Despite this, the show was still absolutely superb!
Current UK Company
So as to the actual performance on the night, I can confidently say that there was not a toe put out of line, there were no awkward pauses or mishaps and the cast totally nailed it. The audiences reaction did obviously cheer them on a bit I would suggest as someone so subtly shouted, ‘on yesel son!’ just as Frankie sealed a deal in that famous Jersey handshake scene – welcome to Scotland lads!
The transcendence of a young Frankie into an older Frankie was utterly flawless (as were all of the supporting roles on the night). Now, Frankie Valli’s voice is not the easiest to replicate – I attempt to hit that ‘Sherry’ high note on a daily basis – but Michael Watson’s version proved faultless. From the acting, to the vocal range, set changes, lighting and perfect timing, the experience was just an absolute delight to be a part of.
I think the turning point in the show was when we see the band become The Four Seasons and perform ‘Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Walk Like a Man’, the stage completely lights up (literally). You could feel the tension rising in the room at this point in the show.
After the interval we observe Frankie go it alone and perform various songs, but it is not until he then takes centre stage for ‘Can’t Take My Eyes off You’ the room explodes! It was like an ocean of arms, swaying side to side, and singing even louder than Frankie at some points.
What I found most invigorating though, was how the audience interacted and reacted to the show. We got a little excited seems like a massive understatement, we were pumped up and ready! I haven’t witnessed such enthusiasm and hype in a theatre setting since maybe a Cinderella panto many moons ago. This show isn’t like a traditional theatre production as you do feel as though you are actually at a Four Seasons concert rather than a Westend ensemble.
It was a refreshing change to some of the other theatre productions I have seen lately however, it isn’t trying to be like anything other than an original, hypnotic, tantalisingly stand alone show.
I would absolutely watch the UK production again and will most definitely be sourcing tickets for a Broadway show when I visit New York. Again, if you ever have the opportunity to see this show then jump at it!
What did you think of this review? Have you seen Jersey Boys?
Jersey Boys Background:
Jersey Boys first opened on Broadway in New York in 2005 and has continued to be a worldwide hit ever since. The real Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe have also been involved with the show since 2005. In 2014 Clint Eastwood turned the acclaimed theatre production into a movie casting John Llloyd Young (original Broadway Frankie and Tony Award Winner) as Frankie Valli in the theatrical retelling.