Jersey BoysPosted on: 09 April 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
The smash hit musical story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons comes to the West End.
A familiar rags-to-riches yarn is transformed into a night of sheer musical bliss in the Tony Award winning show Jersey Boys, on at Prince Edward Theatre, directed by Des McAnuff.
This is the tale of a group of working class boys from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who became one of the greatest successes in pop music history in the shape of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Their ups and downs are chronicled in detail from their early days of petty crime, links with the Mob and tangles with loan sharks, through the thrilling early days of rock-and-roll to a place in the Rock Hall of Fame.
What makes this story which incorporates revenge and betrayal, crime and punishment and family and women so universally affecting is that unlike many musicals it is drawn from real life experiences and is totally devoid of sentimentality.
Furthermore the Rashomon-style storytelling, in which the story is told through the eyes of each of the original band members, provides the audience with a range of viewpoints.
Marshall Brickman, co-author of the book - with Rick Elice - on which the musical is based, has written the scripts for several Woody AlIen films including Annie Hall, and brings a biting wit and hard hitting realism to the proceedings. As an example of the sharp one-liners, when the boys are knocking on record producers' doors at a time when only black singers were deemed to have what it takes, they are told to, "Come back when you're coloured!"
The musical, too, moves at a fast pace and is expertly staged, moving swiftly from scene to scene in almost filmic fashion, with the aid of Roy Liechtenstein-like drawings, a long raised walkway, and a painted orange sky over an industrial backdrop, hinting at the world the boys have left behind, all of which help to heighten the atmosphere and increase the strong sense of conviction.
But it is Bob Gaudio's great songs such as Bye Bye Baby (Baby, Goodbye), Oh, What A Night, Can't Take My Eyes Off You, Sherry, Working My Way Back To You, Big Girls Don't Cry, My Eyes Adored You and Walk Like a Man, each brilliantly sung by this talented ensemble, topped by Ryan Molloy's near-perfect impersonation of Valli, that really stand out and make this such an impressive show.
A truly unforgettable night in the theatre!
Booking until 25th April 2009.
Box Office: 0844 482 5151 or: www.jerseyboysinfo.com
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