More mobster tale than musical, the multi-award-winning Jersey Boys was a welcome addition to the musical theatre canon when it burst onto the stage back in 2005. Managing to eschew all the usual musical theatre cliches, it presented the gritty story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in a way that not only delivered hit after hit, but made those who hate musicals love it. Seven years on and the public’s enthusiasm for the show hasn’t waned and neither, thankfully, has the quality of its hugely talented cast.
Rather a play with music than a tune-a-minute, all-out musical, there are plenty of surprises and enough drama in the storyline to keep the interest levels high throughout. Coupled with the sublime tunes that you may not know you know – but you do, it’s a winner on many levels.
The simple but effective set means that the action is firmly focused on the cast, and this is a cast that are universally deserving of praise. The sharing of the spotlight between all of the Four Seasons means that each man gets his chance to shine; Matt Corner’s Frankie Valli takes a little time to warm up vocally but was quickly in his stride, Sam Ferriday is a fine-voiced and wittily wry Bob Gaudio, Stephen Webb a convincingly hot-headed Tommy DeVito and Lewis Griffiths deserving of a medal for maintaining Nick Massi’s booming bass voice throughout.
The Theatre Royal should be applauded for providing a truly first-rate show as an alternative to the usual festive fodder and I’m glad to say it still remains a five star favourite with this critic all these years on.
Runs until Sunday 3rd January 2016
Image copyright Helen Maybanks