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Jersey Boys review at Prince Edward London

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It is New Jersey in the late fifties and Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi are fighting a losing battle to escape a hoodlum lifestyle and make it big in a band. Tommy nurtures a unique vocalist by the name of Frankie Valli, incorporates the songwriter Bob Gaudio and together they become the legendary Four Seasons.

Narrated in turn by each member of the group, their rise to international stardom via such hits as Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man and December 1963 is given a frank and often amusing treatment, yet this piece remains very much a jukebox musical.

On the whole, Brickman and Elice do a smart job of building up to the landmark hits such as Sherry and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. What is lacking is any viable presence of romance or indeed any strong female presence at all. The masculine energy here is palpable to the extent that Valli’s marriage is virtually ignored until it collapses at the end of the first act to the seemingly ill placed but melodious ballad, My Eye’s Adored You.

Ryan Molloy does a fine job of recreating the unique Frankie Valli tenor-falsetto and ultimately succeeds in giving some depth to the role. Stephen Ashfield adds a little sophistication as the outsider Bob Gaudio and Philip Bulcock gets a chance to shine in the second act as the self-confessed ‘Ringo’ of this Jersey quartet, Nick Massi. It is the character of Tommy DeVito who has to thrust the opening narrative forward and here Glenn Carter excels with just the right measure of street charm and aggression. Jye Frasca is a surprising hit as a very young Joe Pesci (yes, the actor) and Simon Adkins is hilarious as a confident and louche Bob Crewe.

Production Information

Prince Edward, London, March 18-February 14

Authors
Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (book), Bob Gaudio (music), Bob Crewe (lyrics)
Director
Des McAnuff
Producers
Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, in association with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner
Cast
Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Philip Bulcock, Glenn Carter, Simon Adkins, Jye Frasca, Stuart Milligan
Running time
2hrs 30mins
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