REVIEW: JERSEY BOYS (Milton Keynes Theatre) ★★★★★

Four Seasons. Four boys. Four stories.

Unlike many ‘Jukebox musicals’ Jersey Boys doesn’t attempt to weave a fictional story around the songs of a famous artist or band; instead it focuses on the real story of the musicians in their road to fame and beyond.

From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Four Seasons had highs and lows, leading to a story that is both fun filled and poignant. One of the best things about Jersey Boys is that no matter how many times you see it (this was my third time), there are still songs that you forget, that instantly bring a smile to your face.

This is part of the charm of Jersey Boys – there is a song for everyone, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z. Many of the numbers (including Bye Bye Baby, Beggin’ and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You) have been covered multiple times, which means that everyone knows more songs than they might think.

The set looks almost identical to the one in the West End and the quality of the whole production is of this high standard, with impeccable timing, fantastic dance routines (choreographed by Sergio Trujillo) and incredible singing. The four Jersey boys – played in this performance by Michael Watson, Simon Bailey, James Winter and Karl James Wilson – are brilliant, perfectly recognisable as the original line-up in appearance and character.

Bailey (Tommy DeVito) has a roguish charm about him, while Wilson (Nick Massi) is a strong, silent type. Watson (Frankie Valli) and Winter (Bob Gaudio) bounce off each other well and their friendship and partnership is truly believable. Watson’s range is incredible and if you close your eyes, it’s very difficult to distinguish him from the real Frankie Valli.

The ensemble are just as strong and there is so much talent in this one show that it’s no wonder it has been touring successfully for so many years.

It’s a fun night out for all ages and it’s guaranteed to have you tapping your toes, dancing subconsciously and mouthing (or even singing) along with the cast!

Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Photo: Brinkhoff MÂgenburg


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