This show is a jukebox musical featuring the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Unlike other musicals of this genre Jersey Boys does not fall into the trap of trying to fit as many songs as possible into a two-and-a-half hour production that results in a flimsy and patchwork storyline. Jersey Boys tells the life story of four guys from New Jersey who became one of the most successful bands of their time, making what is being performed on stage real and, as a result, more emotional. The songs are incorporated seamlessly into the plot and the writers deserve acclaim for this.
The set is minimal and is designed to look like a concert arena, which is very fitting. The production does not require an elaborate set. In order to create different settings cast members dress the stage with furnishings such as tables, chairs and even, at one point, four toilet seats. At several times a live camera streams the band’s performances of their hit numbers onto a screen and real footage of audience members and TV presenters from the hay day of The Four Seasons is also played, adding to the authenticity of the production.
Minimal set allows the audience’s attention to be fully devoted to the performers. Frankie (Tim Driesen), Bob (Sam Ferriday), Nick (Lewis Griffiths) and Tommy (Stephen Webb) sing the tight harmonies with precision and technique; execute the slick choreography with sharpness; portray their characters so convincingly and know how to entertain a crowd. ‘Walk Like A Man’ was met with roof-raising cheers and applause. Other highlights included ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ and Driesen’s tear-jerking rendition of ‘Fallen Angel’. Griffith’s impressive bass voice resonated throughout and Driesen’s falsetto was incredibly controlled and seemed effortless – singing like Frankie is no mean feat. Four words can sum up the whole performance: charisma, energy, passion and talent.
The older generation were filled with nostalgia as they watched the actors perform hit after hit and who could blame them? If only boy bands of today were more like Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.