Jersey Boys UK Tour: Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.
Reviewed 3rd October 2018.
Internationally-acclaimed hit, Jersey Boys, is currently touring the UK wowing audiences. Telling the story of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons this stage favourite includes legendary hits such as Beggin’, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Oh What A Night, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Bye Bye Baby, Big Girls Don’t Cryand many more. Jersey Boys showcases the true story of four boys from the wrong side of the tracks who wrote their own songs, invented their own unique sound, and sold 100 million records worldwide.
This show is sure to be a hit with fans of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. This biopic about the band is well executed and the singing and band are excellent. The harmonies created onstage are in true keeping of The Four Seasons and infiltrate the entire show. Michael Watson, who plays Frankie Valli, has got the perfect voice for this iconic figure. His rise to fame and glory is narrated throughout by the four original band members which is a brilliant touch. Simon Bailey portrays a very strong, determined and troubled Tommy Devito really well and has full command of the stage. James Winters’ (understudy for the role of Bob Gaudio) rich tones also particularly impress whilst Lewis Griffiths excels as the deep, bass Nick Massi.
Act One of Jersey Boys acts as a whistle-stop tour of the boys getting together and creating the band. Whilst at times this does become a bit frantic, particularly with the movement of various props and set pieces, it does tell the audience the entire story from the boys first meeting to singing a record contract and their eventual decline. The second Act is slightly more hard-hitting and emotional as the audience is shown the troubles faced by the ever-popular singers, particularly faced by Tommy and his growing debts. Jersey Boys is brilliant at telling the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons so will be loved by fans of their music. For newcomers to their hits and story it may lack slightly in emotion. There are some scenes that could definitely provide more emotion and heartache if tweaked. But what the audience is left with is a fantastic biography of the bands history.
The clever use of projections, including pop-art and video footage, designed by Michael Clark adds to the simple steel constructed set. Generally the stage is used well and, whilst at times the set pieces can be slightly distracting, these are generally well used to create different locations as we follow the boys rise to fame. Lighting by Howell Binkley also compliments the action onstage, particularly towards the end of Act One where the lights are facing the audience.
Overall Jersey Boys is fantastic for fans of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and anyone who enjoys music of this era. It is great to find out more about this iconic band and to have their story told onstage in such a clever way. Whilst it may not be everyones cup of tea, it certainly is an entertaining night out and will have audiences up and clapping along by the end of the show.