‘How much better does it get than to see your life pass before you, with a 20-minute intermission, and never have to break a sweat?’ Bob Gaudio
Jersey Boys took the Playhouse stage by storm from the 1st to the 5th March. Finishing off its UK tour in Edinburgh before returning to the West End this production features the first all-new Four Seasons cast since it opened in 2008.
Usually musicals are adapted from book or in recent trends, hit movies, but Jersey Boys is unique in its creation from real life. Following the story of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio (the original Four Seasons) it spans decades woven together by their fantastic songs. Always interesting to see a jukebox musical and how well the songs can be used to tell a story, Jersey Boys is one of the most successful at succeeding.
Bob Gaudio worked extremely closely with the writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise on the project to ensure it remained true to the music and the men. However, interestingly, they interviewed each Season member before writing the script and the show is divided into four Seasons, aptly, named and each told by one of the men. It is interesting to hear everyone’s perspective at different points in the play, at different points in their lives, as it gives the musical a greater depth and meaning. The musical does have a common theme though, it all focuses on the story of Frankie Valli and even the other members tell the story from his point of view adding little vignettes of their own opinions though.
The cast was extremely talented, Matt Corner was incredible as Frankie Valli. The original Frankie Valli’s vocal range is so exceptional and vast that each actor has to go through vigorous coaching and vocal exercises to be able to sustainably maintain and perform at the level which the role requires. Matt Corner easily lives up to that requirement though and is mesmerising through the whole performance and each song. His fellow leading men, Stephen Webb (Tommy DeVito), Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi) and Sam Ferriday (Bob Gaudio), were equally talented. They were able to capture their characters perfectly and the camaraderie between the four was evident.
The set and lighting was fantastic, the whole production was extremely slick and smooth. With such a fantastic cast on stage and a world class crew behind the stage it couldn’t fail to excel. The orchestra provided a beautiful background to the play expertly perfecting every Four Seasons song and bringing to the stage the songs that so many of the audience knew of by heart.
It is difficult to say much more about this production other than it is a must see. The cast is incredible, the songs are as worthy of a musical as the Four Seasons story is anyway, and the whole show is spectacular. Catch it when you’re next in London and you shan’t regret it.