The Jersey Boys (touring) show is one big show with a very big heart. It beats with honesty and, historically, at times, there are beats of distinct dishonesty. It is a very slick, warts and all, story; beautifully acted and sung by all the triple threat actors. For those who love the music and songs of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons it is an exciting and moving whistle stop theatrical visit to the origins of the musicians lives told from differing perspectives by each member of the group. Director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo have complied a top class production that won’t disappoint any member of the audience. This is West End quality on Nottingham’s doorstep and is a real testament to the lives of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Tonight Dayle Hodge takes the lead as Frankie Valli – the lead singer – with the almost unique vocal range. Hodge’s interpretation comes as close to the sound of the real man as one might hope. He also brings real depth of character to the role and shows Valli’s difficult rise to fame including coping with the unexpected financial downturns in his career. All the performers work super hard to bring across the fascinating story of the musically talented blue collar youngsters from the State of New Jersey. They enthral us and surprise us with their back stories and their regular up- to-no-good antics and occasional trips to gaol. The show is laced with a great deal of humour too. Simon Bailey is terrific as wise cracking, gambling addict and general naughty boy, Tommy DeVito and Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio) and Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi) bring oodles of personality and harmonic talents to their parts.
The show encompasses a large, mostly male, cast with plenty of doubling up to keep the audience on its toes. The female players Phoebe May Newman (Francine and others), Olive Robinson (Lorraine and others), Amy Thiroff (Mary Delgado and others) are especially good. The dance elements are well choreographed and executed and echo the style of the 1960s perfectly.
This reviewer particularly likes the use of Roy Lichtenstein style pop art imagery projected at the top of the enormous set that helps to illustrate the storytelling. With over thirty songs packed into a two and a half hour show, Jersey Boys really entertains and educates us about the tough road to stardom and its pressures on relationships. The standing ovation audience at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall love it and Jersey Boys runs until Saturday 19th May 2018. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Phil Lowe.