Jersey Boys is a juke-box musical production which needs little introduction. The show tells the story of the real-life band The Four Seasons and details the rise and eventual fall of Frankie Valli and his group comprising Tommy DeVitio, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio. The production famously won two Drama Desk Awards, four Tony Awards and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album as well as a host of others globally for various productions.
So how do you review such a well awarded and famous production? I have to say I was wondering the same thing when I entered the auditorium of the Festival Theatre for the opening night of the Adelaide leg of the Australian tour. Was I just going to say that the show is amazing, like every other critic before me? Well – I loved it. The Australian production is slick, energetic, terrifically paced, and absolutely stunning to watch.
The opening sequence of the show was very quick – and you might be forgiven for needing to take just a moment to acclimatise yourself to the pace. If ever there was a show that doesn’t suffer from pace issues this is it; pieces of set are flown in and back out again in record time; chairs, tables and entire night clubs are erected and dismantled by the players who literally sprint across the stage; and scenes progress at a lightening pace as the audience are transported from one location to another with choreographed perfection.
The performances are all flawless. Vocally there are no weak links and the overall effect is spine-tingling. But by far the most impressive achievement is in the writing and structure of this show. I have to admit to wondering how much artistic licence the writers took with the story line – on further research it does seem that there are a few inconsistencies in the time line, but the effectiveness of the narrative and its wonderful correlation to the great songs means this can easily be forgiven.
The staging of this show is relatively minimalist, relying heavily on expertly choreographed scenes amongst a fixed scaffolded space which doubles as multiple locations, and is used to great effect. Most impressive however is the use of intermedial live video projection, the best I would have to say I have seen – not necessarily for execution, but – for service to the narrative; when the group performs live to camera the action is screened live on projection screens over the stage, recreating with great effect the televised imagery of the original group.
For entertainment value alone I would recommend this show to anyone. It is the kind of production you could easily see two or three times, and tickets to this show would make a great gift – guaranteed to please. If you haven’t seen the show, and even if you aren’t really a big fan of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, I promise you will be shocked at just how many songs you actually know. This production is feel good entertainment. I heartily recommend anyone to see it.
When: 26 Oct to 22 Nov
Where: Festival Theatre