ON paper, Jersey Boys could be just another jukebox musical, a tribute to a bygone era.
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THE PLAYHOUSE, GREENSIDE PLACE
Unlike others of its ilk that regularly rock and roll their way onto the Playhouse stage, Jersey Boys tells a compelling tale.
The fact that it focuses on the life and music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons might not seem too exciting on paper, either.
Yes, the music is great, but aside from the usual inner-band tensions and the obvious pitfalls of fame, they weren’t exactly notorious for living the rock and roll lifestyle. Or were they?
Simply put, Jersey Boys is a must-see show. Why? Strong performances from a perfectly cast company blessed with harmonious singing voices that, if you close your eyes, you’d swear were Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Bobby Gaudio themselves. They are that good.
The big question, though is this, just where did the producers manage to find wispy Tim Driesen, a slip of a man who matches Valli’s distinctive, almost-impossible-to-match falsetto with consummate ease.
The fact he nightly stops the show and receives a standing ovation tells you what audiences think of his performance.
Stephen Webb, meanwhile, oozing charisma and smouldering sex appeal as DeVito, the band’s bad boy with gangster connections, binds much of the production together with a little help from clean-cut genius Gaudio (Sam Ferriday).
As for the songs? Well, you’d never know The Four Seasons had written so many hits until you hear them here. Walk Like A Man, Let’s Hang On, My Boyfriend’s Back...they are all there.
Ultimately, Jersey Boys is about friendship, family, and not forgetting where you came from. Despite the whirlwind nature of compiling 50 years into two-and-a-half hours there are some moving segments. It is a true story after all.
The Four Seasons provided the sound track to more than one generation. They made and continue to make them laugh, sing and dance throughout the show.
Big girls do cry by the way.
Until 25 October
• Run ends Saturday 25 October