REVIEW: Jersey Boys (New Victoria Theatre) ★★★★

Oh what a night indeed…..

While this musical has been doing the rounds for some time now, I’d never seen it nor realised that over 25 million theatre fans across the world have enjoyed “Jersey Boys” since it first opened In London and went on to enjoy a successful 9 Year Run, When interviewed Frankie Valli said of the show that it is over “95%” accurate.

The pals who became the “Jersey Boys” all grew up in Jersey, starting as a group of aimless delinquents before finding that together they could make a joyful sound. Whilst it took me some time to establish who was who in the first half, the show really kicks off once the band is formed and the music takes over. The energy is pretty high from the start, with the story really taking off when the boys have their first smash with “Sherry”. From there, the hits keep coming until the curtain falls, but the tunes will stay in your head long after.

DAYLE HODGE with his piercing Valli falsetto and captivating smile makes his Frankie Valli easy to love, DECLAN EGAN is the likeable bean-pole Bob Gaudio and watching this show I learned that he in fact had more to with the bands meteoric rise to stardom than perhaps even Valli himself. SIMON BAILEY played the group’s founder and arrogant bad boy, Tommy DeVito, and finally LEWIS GRIFFITHS finishes the line up as the hulking Nick Massi, and his deadpan delivery provides some of the show’s funniest moments. MARK HEENEHAN deserves a worthy mention for playing all the old guys, including mobster Gyp DeCarlo and others.

The set design includes scaffolding with a screen on the second level that helps invoke the show’s differing eras, including a television camera on stage, projecting the performers in black and white, reminiscent of classic Shows such as Ed Sullivan and Juke Box Jury.

Be warned the language is very colourful so it’s not a show for children but it’s the story behind the show which really grabbed at my heart strings.

Even as I write this, I am listening to Valli’s signature falsetto singing “Fallen Angel” and maybe, just maybe you can see a tear glistening on my cheek.

Reviewed by Neil Mcfarlane
Photo: Brinkhoff-Mogenburg

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