THE JERSEY BOYS: Book Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice; Music, Bob Gaudio; Lyrics, Bob Crewe.
Touring till 15 August
New Alexandra, Birmingham: Runs 2h 45m, one interval, till Sunday 05 January 2015
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, New Alexandra, 10 December 2014
A riveting, high-energy show
This is a terrific show. Full of energy, it’s uplifting – you feel a great deal better when you come out than when you went in.
JERSEY BOYS tells the story of how the Four Seasons came into being, how Frankie Valli came to lead them, and the trials and tribulations of working as a close-knit singing group. Their fame, money, the pressure to perform and come up with new songs takes its toll as well as bringing rewards. And along the way, we have fabulous songs. Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man to name just a few of them.
This would all make a show watchable. But the performances carry it to a new level – this is a show not to be missed.
At the centre is Tim Driesen’s Frankie Valli; he recreates Frankie’s sound perfectly, moving easefully between high tenor and falsetto, producing the iconic powerful sound in all ranges that whizzes us back to the 60s. The three other group members, Sam Ferriday, Lewis Griffiths, Stephen Webb confidently create the harmonies that we remember so well. These four (like the originals) are good – very, very good. And yet this is only part of the delight, in beautifully designed and made suits and jackets, with excellent, sharp choreography, the period feel is faithfully, even passionately, recreated. And we care about these boys.
There are a host of other strong performances, including Damian Buhagiar’s young Joe Pesci.
This is a strong acting company too; the scene in which things begin to fall apart is genuinely moving, the performances sincere and taut.
It’s wrong to judge a group on the influence they’ve had; the Four Seasons were splendid in themselves. But a further plus of this show is that it enables us to look back at where they came from – for instance the crooners and close harmony groups of the 40s and 50s, then forwards to those they influenced, including The Beatles.
A thrilling show, and one, with its succession of songs, never dips in energy levels for a second.
Frankie Valli: Tim Driesen
Bob Gaudio: Sam Ferriday
Nick Massi: Lewis Griffiths
Tommy DeVito: Stephen Webb
Mary Delgado: Amelia Adams-Pearce
Swing: Charlie Allen
Joe Pesci: Damian Buhagiar
Hank Majewski: Henry Davis
Lorraine: Leanne Garretty
Bob Crewe: Matt Gillett
Swing: Dayle Hodge
Gyp DeCarlo: Sean Kingsley
Swing and Dance Captain: Dan Krikler
Francine: Sinead Long
Barry: Nathaniel Morrison
Swing: Luke Morton
Norm Waxman: Dominic Smith
Director: Des McAnuff
Choreographer: Sergio Trujillo
Musical Supervisor/Incidental Music/Vocal Arranger: Ron Melrose
Scenic Design: Klara Zieglerova
Costume Design: Jess Goldstein
Lighting Design: Howell Binkley
Projection Design: Michael Clark
Wig and Hair Design: Charles Lapointe
Fight Director: Steve Rankin