26 May to 13 June 2015
Reviewed by Jolene Keddy
Jersey Boys is a musical packed with mega hits that keeps you jigging to the music throughout. There is hit after, after hit, after hit with wonderful big band music that was cleverly put together to tell a true life story. If you are a fan of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons then this is a must see. If you were not a fan like me you will still dance along to the music and find yourself engrossed in the story and wanting to find out more about these people.
Jersey Boys is the story of the Four Seasons, right the way through from the start of the band to now. Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the writers of the Jersey Boys worked with the members of the Four Seasons to tell their story so the content is pretty close to what actually happened. It is also cleverly done as all four members of the Four Seasons narrate part of the musical. This gave a unique view into why each member wanted to be in or leave the band. The part that really interested me was that they got into trouble as young men, but then the people that they knew at that point in their lives came back to help them later when Tommy got into money difficulties. I have always expected that when you are as famous as the Four Seasons that you would have no need to borrow money from “gangsters”.
All of the actors were brilliant. Their voices were amazing and really carried the songs. Lewis Griffiths who played Nick Massi was excellent at dry wit. His character was very funny with some good oneliners. I thought Tim Driesen as Frankie Valli has a beautiful voice. It was very clever how his voice improved from where he was first found by Tommy Devito (played by Stephen Webb) to when the Four Seasons made their first television appearance. Tim Driesen just like Frankie Valli had a massive range and really sounded like Frankie himself. Stephen Webb played Tommy Devito, a New Jersey boy down to a tee. He character was funny, dark and energetic, even though he did some stupid things, he still had a charm about him. Bob Gaudio played by superbly by Sam Ferriday was a genius. It was interesting how insightful he was with knowing what would be a hit single and really pushing his art through so that it could be heard. The hand shake between Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli which meant they would share 50% of each other’s pay was amazing. I was sure that one of them would try to keep more than his share but they both held true. I don’t think you would get that type of deal now.
The band was fabulous, such a lovely experience listening to amazing musicians. I thought the drummer was practically good and enjoyed seeing the drummer incorporated into the stage. The set was also a vision and very cleverly devised. The stage crew were great at seamlessly changing the sets and the use of lighting really enhanced the production.
What you will find if you go to see this musical is one of the best atmospheres of any musical I have gone to see. Many of the people in the audience were fans of the Four Seasons, this was great because they knew how brilliant the actors were on stage and showed their appreciation throughout. This enhanced my experience of the show as you also get carried along with the occasion. At the end of the show there was a massive standing ovation that went on for ages. Anyone from this era would truly love this musical. I spoke too many of the people around me who had either seen the musical before or would be going back to watch it again.
The Bristol hippodrome is a beautiful theatre and has a lovely bar with a live pianist. This made a lovely reception and worth going early so that you can have a relaxing drink beforehand. The architecture and decoration is something to see and worth a visit to see any show. The price of water and snack is a bit on the steep side, however I think this reflects most theatres now as it is so costly to run a show. The seats could also do with re-padding, they were a bit hard. The parking in Bristol is pretty easy. We parked at the Millennium car park and walked along the Water Shed. It was quite expensive at £6.50 but there are other car parks around the area that might be cheaper. The walk along the Water Shed is always pleasant and there are many bars and restaurants that you can go into beforehand. There is one that specialises in pizza, pies and cider.
This is a must see musical that will make a really enjoyable evening out. You will be singing the songs all the way back home.
Tickets cost from £21.90 to £63.40 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Jersey Boys is at the Bristol Hippodrome until 13 June 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3012.
Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol, BS1 4UZ | 0844 871 3012