Thursday, 27 December 2012

Jersey Boys the Musical: Theatre Review

Before making it over the West End, Jersey Boys was already a hit over in the States. The Broadway production opened in 2005 and is now the 19thlongest running Broadway show. The show started its first National Tour at the end of 2006 and after this, productions opened in Chicago, Las Vegas, Australia and New Zealand.
The West End production opened in 2008 at the Prince Edward Theatre where it is still playing. The show features songs from the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli to tell the story of their journey to stardom; you see how the group was formed, their rise in fame and eventually their breakup.
The show has been divided up cleverly into 'four seasons' in which each member of the group narrates each section.
The production is directed by Des NcAnuff who seems to really understand how to stage a production, he really worked with this show well and his direction really complemented the story, as did Sergio Trujillo's choreography.
The scenic design was interesting, at first I thought it looked a bit pants but the lights, screens and other small pieces of scenery made each location different and in the end it really worked, Klara Zieglerova did a great job. Very Clever.
Jess Goldstein did a perfect job on the costume design, everything seemed spot on and I kind of wanted to take some of the outfit's home!

Howell Binkley also did a very good job on the lighting design, the whole design aspects of the show worked brilliantly together, the saying 'less is more' definitely applies with this show.
At this performance we had Jon Lee as Frankie Valli, he was great. One thing that did annoy me was the sleeve things he was wearing to cover up his tattoos but I guess that can't be helped, other than that he performed the role brilliantly and his vocals were top notch. Frankie must be a very hard role to sing and he did it with ease (at least that's the way it seemed!) and his acting was also very intimate which I found fascinating.
Jon Boydon plays Tommy DeVito in the show and he seemed perfect in every sense for the role. He played it with a gangster type attitude but it seemed he had a lot behind that which made his character very real which must be hard when you're taking on a character who was a real human being but he did that fantastically.
Matthew Wycliffe played Bob Gaudio and he was great, really captured the character and I loved how he acted as the outsider for a lot of the performance, it really added a nice layer to the characters relationships.
The role of Nick Massi was played by Mark Isherwood who understudies the role but you wouldn't have ever have known that. He was another one who was great, didn't stand out from the rest and I can't say he added anything to the show but by no means was he bad.
Nicola Brazil, Charlie Bull and Traina Hill played all the woman in the production, I got very confused as they were playing so many characters and I thought they were just playing one! Besides the fact I didn't catch on to the fact they play about 300 other characters as well as the ones they are listed as in the programme they were good in the production.
The show is good, it wouldn't be a show that I'd rush back to go and see again but that's because it's not my cup of tea but I certainly enjoyed the show.
Whether you are a Four Seasons fan or not you should enjoy the show. It's a good production and if you haven't got round to seeing it yet, it should be on your list.

Rating: ***

Jersey Boys is currently playing at the Prince Edward Theatre

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