Jersey Boys is a brilliant feel-good musical telling the story of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi – the Romans, the Four Lovers and ultimately The Four Seasons.
Jersey Boys is a show like no other I’ve seen before and I had a smile on my face throughout! It opens with a rap and modern (in French) version of ‘Oh What A Night’ which was very unexpected and reminded me of the opening of In The Heights (possibly why I fell in love straight away!) and from there progresses to tell the story of the Four Seasons through their own eyes. Starting with Tommy DeVito (played brilliantly by Simon Bailey) the audience is taken on a journey from the very beginning. This was extremely cleverly written – Tommy states at the start that if you were to ask each of the four men about their journey in the band you would get four different stories and that is exactly what happens throughout – the audience is taken through the years by each of the men individually.
What was particularly impressive about this show is the fluidity – I’ve never seen a show that has flowed so beautifully. Everything seemed perfectly choreographed from the way the four men move exactly at the same time, even down to the removal of props from the stage. Directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo the dance numbers were performed excellently and one extremely impressive aspect was when The Four Seasons performed to a camera and a video of the original Four Seasons was shown on the screen in the background. The choreography here was particularly spot on –it took me a while to realise it wasn’t a video of the actors on stage.
The casting of the Four Seasons was perfect – not only do they look like the original band, the singing was almost an exact copy. Dayle Hodge, Simon Bailey, Declan Egan and Matt Hunt played Frankie, Tommy, Bob and Nick expertly and the way they performed instantly threw the audience backwards into the swinging 60s and from the very first line of ‘Silhouettes’ had us dancing along with them.
Frankie Valli was played by Dayle Hodge, an alternate for the lead. His performance was outstanding from the very first note he sang. Starting the show as a 14 year old and progressing into adulthood Dayle performed extremely impressively, showing the growth that Frankie experienced whilst under the wings of Tommy DeVito. Dayle’s voice is astoundingly like that of Frankie Valli – a talent which the audience were extremely impressed by, particularly after ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ where it didn’t seem the audience would ever stop cheering – I think even Dayle was taken aback.
Simon Bailey’s Tommy DeVito was inspired, from the very first line the audience was drawn in to his story which flowed instantly. Tommy’s character is one that has the potential to become too much about ‘me me me’ but Simon’s ability to keep this from becoming annoyingly egotistical is a talent that was performed extremely cleverly. Even when Tommy was clearly in the wrong the audience never felt that he was really the bad guy. Simon’s acting was spot on and his singing and dancing must also be praised – truly brilliant!
Bob Gaudio was portrayed by Declan Egan and his performance too was a delight to watch. From the moment he set foot on the stage he made the audience fall in love with Bob and the friendship that he and Frankie struck seemed truly genuine. His ability to switch from comedy to serious is impressive and nothing felt forced. His singing was beautiful and dancing was admirable.
Matt Hunt as Nick Massi was a fairly background character until the start of the second act when he really came into his own. He provided the comedy factor perfectly and very quickly became my favourite – particularly after his rant about the hotel towels! Matt’s portrayal was hilarious as an ex Jersey mobster and had us in stitches from the start. His ability to perform even the more serious parts of the storyline funnily is something that is very difficult to do and the moment he quit the band because he wanted to ‘go home’ became very poignant – extraordinarily acted by Matt.
Every member of this cast are extremely funny and really added to the story of The Four Seasons. Mark Dugdale’s portrayal of Bob Crewe was spot on from the start and Mark Heenehan’s ability to turn something that could have become unnecessarily sad (My Mother’s Eyes) into something truly funny was excellent. The mobster feel of this show gave it something really special and the feel good factor is phenomenal.
A major aspect of any musical like this is down to the band and conductor Dan Wilkinson. There was no visible orchestra pit so I am unsure as to whether the band were performing onstage or backstage (I know the drummer was onstage) but their music was faultless and really to be commended.
This is another show I am finding it difficult to find any fault with, so I will end with one word to sum this one up: lovely! A real feel good musical that will have you singing and dancing along with the cast. It must end on the 26th March so if you haven’t had chance to watch it yet head to the Piccadilly Theatre before it’s too late, you don’t want to miss this one! Oh What A Night indeed!
Find all tickets and dates below.
Keep up-to-date with Jersey Boys news
First to know when new dates are released
Alerts when prices drop or we find a deal
You're Now Following JERSEY BOYS