Reviewed by Tricia Shaw
Jersey Boys is one of those musicals that I had heard of and which had been recommended to me often but before seeing it at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre I really didn’t know much about it. It tells the story of Frankie Valli, Tommy Devito, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi – the original members of the Four Seasons: their backgrounds, how the group met, their highs, their lows and their struggles. The story is divided into four seasons each narrated from the point of view of one of the four musicians. Fascinating insights into the lives behind the music left us wanting to find out more about them all.
So, what did we enjoy about the show? The music is an obvious place to start. It is always a pleasure to see and hear live music and this performance was no exception. There was a good variety of songs including ‘Earth Angel’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘December 1963 (Oh What a night’), ‘My Eyes adored you’, ‘Walk Like a Man’ amongst many others – all of which were easy to recognise having heard both the originals and the many covers on the radio. Michael Watson who played Frankie has an amazing voice easily reaching the range of notes. The other members of the band (Simon Bailey as Tommy, Declan Egan as Bob and Lewis Griffiths as Nick) gave equally strong performances.
The narrative is well written with a good amount of humour in places although the language is, unsurprisingly, somewhat colourful. It is not suitable for young children, but my 13-year-old daughter really enjoyed it – Nick was definitely her favourite character.
It was evident from the start that the scenery would have a huge impact on the enjoyment of the show. Although it did not appear to be particularly complicated, it was very effective, and the changes were slick. Everything was in the right place at the right time and fitted perfectly with the carefully choreographed dancing and performance of the songs. The use of the screen to project the “live” performances of the band as well as actual footage of past audiences was a genius idea. The lighting was also cleverly devised to evoke emotions but be ready for some very bright lights at the end of the first act.
With a cast of highly talented actors and musicians, fantastic choreography and costumes this is a show not to be missed; they thoroughly deserved their standing ovation at tonight’s performance.
Tickets cost from £16 to £65.50 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Jersey Boys is at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury from 3-14 July 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury or call the box office on 0844 871 7607.
Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UG | 0844 871 7607