Reviewed by Sandra Mcghee
Last night I had the real pleasure of reviewing Jersey Boys at Milton Keynes Theatre. As on previous visits to this theatre, I felt a good atmosphere on entering the foyer reception and could pleasantly hear a pianist beautifully playing away in the bar area which was full.
Upon taking our seats in the stalls J, I noted not a single spare seat in site. There was a real mixed age of audience all looking eagerly excited to watch this show as we could hear a buzzy atmosphere.
This was the first time I had seen Jersey Boys. I knew it had been in the West End for a number of years and was a huge unforgettable musical success. I liked the fascinating storyline, which was based on a true story. The music enhanced the story about a group of young ordinary guys who started singing on street corners who all had a hard up-bringing spending time in and out of jail. At times there was some rather foul language which helped tell the story of the group fighting, jealousy, gambling and towards the end huge debts which ripped them apart and caused lots of tension. They struggled for a long time to get noticed in the entertainment business until one night after being thrown out of a bowling alley (where they were booked to perform), they spotted a flashing neon board above a bar called the Four Seasons Lounge. They saw this as a sign for their name and thereafter they never looked back they finally found their way to stardom which they deserved. Good on them not giving up. There were lots of twists and turns, with mob connections and some humour along the way.
The lead cast all impressively suited and booted consisted of a very talented group of experienced performers:
Frankie Vali – played by Michael Watson
Tommy Devito – played by Simon Bailey
Bob Guadio – played by James Winter (my favourite)
Nick Massi – played by Karl James Wilson.
All four jelled together well and each had their own personalities and unique style of singing, making you believe go back in time. They all sang, danced and acted well together bringing history to life.
The show featured some of the most popular songs ever written and I was really surprised how many I actually knew and recognised. My favourite was Can’t Take My Eyes off you, Beggin and Walk Like a Man. There was a really good mixture of musical numbers. Four Seasons Band were all brought up in New Jersey amongst other famous artists including Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra and Blondie.
All in all, a great tribute to the legacy of Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons telling their story of revenge, betrayal, crime and punishment along with family and women, happy and sad times.
Lots of creativity in this musical, great orchestra, production and hard work, along with super sets and costumes.
Since opening on Broadway in 2002, the acclaimed musical has been seen and loved by over 25 million people all around the world and I now know why and wouldn’t hesitate watching it again.
Tickets cost from £18 to £70.50 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Jersey Boys – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 23 January to 3 February 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ