Touring – reviewed at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
My regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of the West End show Jersey Boys. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen it, but I know it’s in triple figures. This week my favourite four red-jacketed boys returned to Southampton, which is sadly their last venue on this tour.
Jersey Boys tells a true story and is based on the lives of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Having sold 175 million records worldwide they were then inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. If like me, you think on your first visit, you won’t know any of the songs, I can assure you that you will be surprised by the amount you do. There are so many that were penned by the geniuses Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe including ‘Beggin’, ‘Sherry’, ‘Walk Like A Man’ and ‘December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)’.
Frankie Valli was portrayed by Michael Watson (one of my favourite ever Frankies) for the evening. He played the role outstandingly well and looked genuinely moved by the audience’s reaction to him in certain songs, not least after he finished ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’. Simon Bailey as our Tommy DeVito had an aggressiveness, combined with a wickedly obvious sense of fun. I loved the fact that he encouraged the audience to whoop and clap more when he could.
Declan Egan as Bob Gaudio showed the audience his fine singing voice especially in ‘Cry For Me’, his opening number. Lewis Griffiths as Nick Massi never ceases to delight. It’s not the biggest of roles in the show but it is key. Griffiths’ delivery of lines in his slow charismatic deep voice meant that no one missed the “nuances” of his very fine performance.
There were many other fantastic performances, this really feels like a family effort and every one deserves a mention but as regrettably this might be my last review of Jersey Boys I’ve concentrated on the main four. Trust me there are many reviews on here about them if you want to check them out.
This production is brought to you by the same team who have worked on the Broadway and West End shows. So is it any wonder that what you see on the tour is an exact replica of what has been seen by millions of people worldwide. There were a couple of minor technical issues such as the sound balance and screen being slightly out of sync on occasion but it didn’t hamper the outstanding entertainment value of the evening. The cast may put their own reflection on the delivery of lines but the set, costumes, choreography and so on remain exactly the same. Although I did spot a few tiny differences but then that’s the fan in me coming out.
To be fair you all probably knew what I was going to write before it went live, I’m tearing up at the thought of not seeing my favourite show again – for yes My Eyes Adored You Jersey Boys.
Jersey Boys Tour is a West End experience on your own doorstep so make sure you “Walk Like a Man” buy your tickets today because “the crowd really do go wild”, with a curtain call full house standing ovation.
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