What a Performance! What a Show! What a Night!
(picture courtesy of http://www.eventfinder.com.au)
It’s been quite a wait (almost 4 years since it first hit the Melbourne stage) but it’s all worth it now that the popular, Tony Award winning, jukebox, documentary-style musical: Jersey Boys, has made its return to Melbourne at the Princess Theatre. I think at this point I should point out: Don’t be mistaken if you think this is a boring musical simply because it is “documentary-style”, it is anything but. It is a high energy, fast-paced musical that entertains and captivates audiences right from the beginning and do so to the very end with fantastic acting from cast members; powerful music; toe-tapping songs; amazing lighting and sound; as well as extremely fast scene changes (thank goodness all the props have wheels!)
The production, told from the point of view of each of the 4 main characters: Tommy DeVito (Spring), Bob Gaudio (Summer), Nick Massi (Autumn) & Frankie Valli (Winter); tells the story of the formation, the obstacles and the rise (plus everything else in-between) of the real life 60s boy band: The Four Seasons. Accompanied throughout the production and used as part of “story telling” and showcasing characters’ emotions are the beautiful songs by The Four Seasons including ‘Sherry’, ‘walk like a man’, ‘rag doll’, ‘December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)’, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ among many others.
The performances for the production were delivered by four extremely talented performers (Jeff Madden as Frankie, Anthony Harkin as Tommy, Glaston Toft as Nick & Declan Egan as Bob) as well as a strong and supporting cast. The whole cast were absolutely fantastic. They’ve complemented each other perfectly & were able to blend beautifully their vocals in the songs as well as create wonderful chemistry between the characters; contributing immensely to bringing to life the “young” and subsequently the “older” versions of The Four Seasons on stage. And rather than the feeling of sitting at a seat inside Princess Theatre & watching a musical, I felt like I have time traveled and was living in the 60s; they were really The Four Seasons; that I was there when they talked, argued & bonded; and that I was watching their concerts. It was completely believable. It felt real. It felt genuine.
All the performances were spectacular but particular mention goes to Jeff Madden & Declan Egan.
Jeff Madden as Frankie Valli was pure perfection. He sang the songs superbly, he danced wonderfully (especially when he did his splits!) and his acting was absolutely amazing (he made me get quite teary in certain scenes). I have previously heard some of the songs sang by the real Frankie Valli on Magic1278 AM radio (thanks to Dad and his love of classic jams) and I can honestly say that I can’t tell the difference between Jeff and Frankie. To me, for the duration of the show: Jeff WAS Frankie. He was flawless and absolutely magnificent in his portrayal.
Declan Egan as Bob Gaudio warmed my heart. As his professional theatre debut, I think he has done a fantastic job! He had a great stage presence and his voice is amazing! I think we’ll be seeing a lot of Declan in the near future (or at least I hope so because he really is very good). I hope it’s not weird to describe him as adorable but his portrayal of Bob made me have many “awwwww” moments. Seriously, well done on the debut! well done
Jersey Boys is definitely a must see! Even if you have no idea who Frankie Valli and/or The Four Seasons are, trust me, just go watch the production! You’ll find that you probably recognise and actually know most if not all of the songs (you don’t believe me? Just go Google or Youtube the songs I listed earlier in the review and have a listen). And even if you don’t know the songs, it’s ok, you’ll still love the production, the songs are not only all sung brilliantly by the main & supporting cast but they are extremely catchy & great to listen to. Fair warning though, once you see the production, there is a high chance you’ll get hooked and before you know it, you’ll be trying to stop yourselves from singing along while watching, singing in the showers, in the car as well as in public places.
In all seriousness though, even if you’re not a huge musical fan, I would still urge you to go check it out, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the show, the songs & you’ll have a great night out. Oh What a performance, oh what a show, “Oh what a night”.
Jersey Boys is currently playing at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne for a limited season. Tickets on sale at Ticketmaster.
NOTE: It is suitable for 15+ due to the coarse language and adult themes.
I’m already planning my next visit to Jersey Boys, hope to see you there!