JERSEY BOYS A FIVE STAR MUSICAL
Jersey Boys is not just another Jukebox musical that’s an excuse for wrapping a back catalogue of hits round a flimsy story.
This is a powerful story about four ordinary guys, brought up on the wrong side of the tracks in the Anglo-Italian area of New Jersey where organised crime was an active presence and how they achieved glory they could hardly have imagined.
Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s musical is brilliantly constructed giving each member of the group the chance to give their interpretation of their rise to success.
“You ask four guys how it happened, and you’ll get four different answers”, says Tommy De Vito at the beginning as he describes the early struggles, successes and reversals including his stretch in prison for passing counterfeit money.
Taking over the narration songwriter Bob Gaudio tells how the group became The Four Seasons and found success with his songs from “Sherry” to “Walk Like A Man” Later we hear from Nick Massi about their fall from grace.and finally Frankie Valli tells of the strains on their private life.
Jersey Boys starts with an overly long back story but Peter Nash as DeVito “You want to begin at the beginning then the whole thing started with me” with perfect chacterization, bravado and pacey delivery turned the tables and injected life into what could have been a laboured first scene. Nash as DeVito gives a brilliant performance throughout the show as the baddie of the piece.
Michael Watson’s Frankie Valli is amazing in every way especially in his solo vocals. As Bob Gaudio, James Winter excels, I loved his slightly geeky persona in the early scene whilst Karl James Wilson’s portrayal of the uneasy rather complicated man is excellent.
Jersey Boys is a musical triumph, much of it due to musical director Francis Goodhand and his small ensemble.
A fast moving, slick seamless production, imaginatively staged Jersey Boys has a cast of high energy performers in both supporting and ensemble roles who sing and dance their way through endless numbers changing their persona as often as they do their costumes.
Technically Jersey Boys in both sound and lighting is totally amazing and some of the best that Grand Theatre has seen for a long time.
“Oh What a Night” it was for the audience as well and for The Grand Theatre celebrating its 140th birthday.
Runs to 1 December
Liz Coggins if a member of the Critics Circle