Review: Jersey Boys At The Piccadilly Theatre
Posted on 16 April 2016
Jersey Boys, currently playing at the Piccadily Theatre, is a brilliant, easy-going, feel-good musical, based on the life and music of the the Four Seasons. After a slightly random opening, the show gets better and better, the songs more and more familiar, and the atmosphere more and more enjoyable. I don't usually like using the word “nice”, but Jersey Boys really was just a nice, positive evening's entertainment.
Following the roller-coaster story of the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys takes us from before the band's formation to after its dissolution. After meeting the band members, we are given the story of their lives from four very different perspectives, as each member narrates what he thinks really happened. As relationships fray within the band and within their families, their fame heightens and we start to hear some of their most well-known songs.
The show is not completely immersive, but it is certainly very engaging. The constant change of perspective means that there is always lots going on, and none of the scenes drag. The audience is addressed quite a lot during the show – mostly quite subtly – and this is a nice touch.
The pace of Jersey Boys is decidedly chilled, making the show extremely easy to watch. I would have happily gone straight back into the theatre after watching the show and watched it again.
The cast are all very good, and the main four characters (the members of the band) are especially strong. There is a lot of chemistry between these four, which doesn't slip at any point in the show.
Matt Corner plays the role of Frankie Valli brilliantly. He has an incredible range, and makes the songs look effortless to sing. When he isn't singing, he is energetic and compelling in his acting.
The other three band members are equally impressive. Simon Bailey (playing Tommy Devito), Declan Egan (playing Bob Gaudio) and Matt Hunt (playing Nick Massi) all step into their respective characters with ease and conviction.
I wasn't sure how many songs I would know when I went to see Jersey Boys, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many “oh, that song” moments I had. You will definitely recognise more songs than you might think – including Sherry, Working My Way Back to You, Big Girls Don't Cry, Bye Bye Baby, Rag Doll, Can't Take My Eyes Off You, Beggin', and Oh, What a Night.
The songs tell the story of the Jersey Boys, rather than being forced inserts, which makes it feel like a musical instead of a play with music. At times, the songs will pause and a scene will evolve within it, which works really well.
It is lovely to see the musicians on stage at the end of the show since, during the show, not all musicians are visible.
The music is accompanied by brilliant choreography, which is always sharp and fits the music really well.
The staging for Jersey Boys is exceptionally good. The general set-up of ladders and platforms means that the stage always feels full – alongside this, there is plenty more coming on and off stage (two completely mobile drum sets; a lamp-post; pianos; microphones …) which brings a lot of energy to the show.
There is one scene where the audience is given the perspective of being on stage, looking out into the audience. This is done extremely well; I was really impressed by it.
The lighting, equally, is very good, and the costumes are varied, memorable and effective.
Would Most People Enjoy It? ★★★★★
Jersey Boys is such an easy-going show that I think anybody would enjoy it. There wasn't really anything to dislike about it; even if you don't know the music, you will love the show.
The “Wow” Factor ★★
Jersey Boys is more focused on a chilled-out, relaxed atmosphere than having that “Wow” factor but, even so, there are moments (particularly the songs) that stand out as especially impressive.
Not having as much of a “Wow” factor as other musicals is no really bad thing – it just isn't that type of show.
Jersey Boys will leave you buzzing, singing, and generally content. It is a satisfying, chilled-out evening's entertainment, and most people will love it. Jersey Boys at the Piccadily Theatre, is now booking until the end of October this year.