30 November 2016
Reviewed by Louise Watts
I was really looking forward to seeing Let’s Hang On as I absolutely love the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. With so many great hits and well known songs, this had the promise of a good evening written all over it.
The show is about 4 New Jersey Boys from a downtrodden area who hit the big time with their music. They managed to produce some amazing songs and were a big success before they were even 30 years old. The show opened with a brief performance of their named song “Let’s Hang On” and what an incredible way to open. That is one of my all-time favourite Frankie Valli songs and it was hard not to sing along right from the beginning. The first half took you back to the 1950’s where it all began for the boys and featured many songs. My personal favourites from that half were “In the still of the Night” and my absolute favourite ever “My Eyes Adored You”. The quality of the vocals was amazing and you couldn’t help but be drawn into the world of Frankie. I was a little disappointed that there was very limited information provided on the lives of the band and it was more about singing the songs. There is nothing wrong with that, but personally I would have preferred to learn a little about the boys themselves and their career. My disappointment was however was short lived when the boys blew me away with their Acapella of Blue Moon… wow!! The harmonies were incredible and showed of their raw talent in its finest form.
After 50 minutes or so it was the interval. My feelings at that time were mixed. I had thoroughly enjoyed my evening so far but didn’t feel that Frankie (Stephen James) had really shown of his full falsetto potential.
We returned to the auditorium after the interval and I am not really sure what happened in that 20 minutes as when the cast returned, it was like watching a completely different show! The boys entered in red jackets, the brass section joined them on stage bringing dancing, comedy and pure brilliance. The drummer who was absolutely brilliant had a background role throughout the performance but if I had to pick a star of the show, it would be him! He was absolutely fantastic. The second half was nothing short of a Frankie Valli dream. Frankie’s voice was pushed to the limit and Stephen demonstrated exactly why he was in this role… the hits flowed and the audience cheered. This was what I came to the theatre for tonight. The boys looked the part, they performed as though they were Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. All the favourites were there, Fallen Angel was performed emotionally, Let’s Hang On was the finale and December ’63.
The audience was packed out and everyone was clearly having a very enjoyable evening. The Hawth is a fantastic local venue. Parking is a dream and completely free. The bar area is always buzzing and the staff are always pleasant and polite. The bar team work their socks off both before the show and during the interval.
At the end of the evening, my mixed feelings from the first half had been blown away and I left feeling that I had experienced something amazing. I would recommend this show for all ages and anyone whom likes some good old fashioned music. What I would recommend to the cast is that whatever you did in the second half please do in the first half too as it was outstanding and exhilarating!
Let’s Hang On is currently on tour around the UK. For more information and tour dates visit www.letshangon.co.uk.
For other shows at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley visit www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636