Jersey Boys

Theatre , Musicals Piccadilly Theatre , Piccadilly Circus Tuesday May 31 2016 - Sunday April 16 2017
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
(24 user reviews)
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Here's the 'Jersey Boys' concept. Take one gleaming back-catalogue – that of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, whose Bob Gaudio-penned songs have become so woven into the fabric of Western pop culture that it's easy to forget who actually wrote them. Next, instead of torturously extrapolating a zany plot out of the lyrics, simply make the story of 'Jersey Boys' the story of the Four Seasons. Get a top-notch book, written by Rick Elice and Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman. Hire a director, Des McAnuff, who doesn't let extended song and dance routines get in the way of a playful, incident-packed story that's not afraid to play a little hard and fast with chronology. Combine, and you have not only one of the best shows in town, but an object lesson in how the whole benighted jukebox musical sub-genre can spawn a genuine classic.

It's therefore not a surprise to note that there have been few changes at the Prince Edward Theatre over the last three years. Supporting cast members have come and gone, but the prodigiously-piped, wonderfully craggy Ryan Molloy is still front and centre as Frankie Valli most nights (though former S Club 7 member Jon Lee now subs for him on occasion).

The current crop Seasons are great fun: Matthew Wycliffe's nerdy nice guy Gaudio and Jon Boydon's wiseass Tommy DeVito engage as the two men fighting for the soul of the band, while the Lurch-like Eugene McCoy makes the role of bassist Nick Massi his own.

But it's the book that emerges as star. The story of 'Jersey Boys' is the story of most musicians who went from bluecollar roots to more success than they could handle. What's great about Ellis and Brickman's telling of the tale is not only its ready wit and refusal and obvious effection for its subjects, but also the poignancy in the shift of narratorial duties from Tommy DeVito to Bob Gaudio. By the second half DeVito has lost his grip on band, show and himself. And in the background Molloy's Valli grows subtly in stature, from runty street rat to troubled father, but always with those formidable pipes, the like of 'Rag Doll', 'Walk Like A Man' and 'Big Girls Don't Cry' still intoxicatingly odd a half century on.

(Note: this is a review of the show at the Prince Edward Theatre)

Venue name: Piccadilly Theatre
Contact:
Address: 4 Denman Street
London
W1D 7DY
Transport: Piccadilly Circus tube
Price: £20–£67.50. Runs 2hrs 35mins

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|24
2 people listening
AME
Tastemaker

Having been to see most musicals, unfortunately Jersey Boys was somewhat of a disappointment. Whilst the music was great throughout, the first half of the story just wasn’t riveting enough and I felt at the interval that it was very average. It did, however, pick up at in the second half and I have to admit I was on my feet singing and dancing at the end but overall, there are far better musicals out there. To me it didn’t have a ‘wow factor’ about it, the story seemed quite boring and it wasn’t as funny as it could have been. Only go if you get cheap tickets!

Jane G.
Tastemaker

This is music I remember my parents liking when I was little. My partner, who is younger than me didn't have a connection and did not like this show at all. I quite enjoyed the oldies. I found myself singing along. Maybe growing up in America with that music blaring on an am radio made the difference. It's definitely worth seeing!

Alexandra L
Tastemaker

Pack your pockets with weights. That, dear readers, would be my slightly unusual but totally appropriate tip for this show because I promise you, one night in the theatre with the ‘Jersey Boys’ and you’ll be flying so high afterwards they’ll be the only thing that will bring you down.


Jukebox musicals are nothing new on the perilous landscape of London’s Theatreland; while ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ have achieved god-like status for their enduring appeal to both closet lovers of cheesy-poppy-soft-rock and coachloads of packed-lunch-toting tourists, the songbooks of the Spice Girls and Rod Stewart failed to find their toe-tapping feet with ‘Viva Forever’ and ‘Tonight’s the Night’ both closing less than a year after they opened. A popular back catalogue, a half-decent storyline and a cast you can believe in are the key to survival and ‘Jersey Boys’ has all three of these and then some.


Following the lives of Frankie, Tommy Devito, Bob Gaudio & Nick Massi from their humble beginnings to the pinnacle of their success and beyond, the story is funny, tough and ultimately, incredibly moving; the underbelly depiction of fame reveals a darker side and, a quick warning here, the language follows suit at times. The show is composed around four seasons, each one narrated and led perspective-wise by a different band member and through them we’re taken from New Jersey prisons to Las Vegas mobsters to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Oh and yes, it is THAT Joe Pesci!


The songs are, quite frankly, amazing. Yes, the music is good and of course the lyrics are brilliant but they could both be massively let down if the cast can’t handle them which, you’ll be relieved to hear, they absolutely can. From the first choirboy pitched notes of Frankie to the gorgeous girl band grooves, every song is kick-your-shoes-off-and-dance-in-your-seat fantastic and by the end, there wasn’t a single person who wasn’t shaking their thang with the hugest of smiles on their face! Standout songs for me included fan favourite ‘Walk Like a Man’, foot stamping finale ‘Who Loves You’ and previously unknown but instantly loved ‘Fallen Angel’.


The cast look like they’re having the time of their lives and thanks to them, so was I and the rest of my roaring-with-approval audience. Iconic red jackets, gravity defying beehives & spangles that would get the nod of approval from Cher herself all added to the atmosphere and while the multi-leveled staging might not be the most ambitious you've ever seen, it’s perfect for capturing multiple scenes and flawless dance numbers that you’ll find yourself subconsciously recreating on the tube the next day because believe me, if ever there was a musical soundtrack to download and play again & again, this is it.


If you think you have to know anything about the band in order to enjoy this show, think again. My only knowledge of them came from the car journeys of my youth when age trumped everything else in the battle of ‘who gets to pick what we listen to’ and my parents would pop a cassette (FYI noughties babies, a cassette is a piece of plastic with two spools of tape on which music was stored and played…crazy huh?!) in the stereo and bop along like extras on a 1967 edition of ‘Top of the Pops’.


There are so many shows in London that it can sometimes seem impossible to determine which one deserves the donation of your hard earned time and money; ‘Jersey Boys’ at the Piccadilly Theatre is deserving of both, I absolutely adored it and while ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, this one might if ever the day comes that London finds itself without one of its best musicals.

Photosbysooz
Tastemaker

Let's face it, Jersey Boys is just a well choreographed concert, with frills. And sometimes, there ain't nothing wrong with that! 

The show is exactly what a stomping musical bio should be; mostly upbeat, with occasional tear-jerker moments and some fantastic songs you didn't realise you already knew.

What woman seeing this show doesn't sigh as 'Frankie' croons "My Eyes Adore You", wishing someone serenaded her with that number. Who doesn't enter into lip-sync battle when "Can't take my Eyes off You" comes on. Who didn't think "hey isn't that from Dirty Dancing" during "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Hold on a Minute - Back to The Future, say what??" as "Earth Angle" is belted out. Oh heck, whilst we're at it, who didn't jump up off their seat in joyous rapture to "Oh What a Night"?

This show is just one great big fantastic singalong from start to finish, so excited will you be for the next number, you'd almost wish they'd get rid of the acting in between. If it wasn't so good that is. A great musical that leaves you with a fuzzy feeling in your tummy, despite the sad bits. In fact the sad bits just make the songs even more special. 

Rosie T
Staff Writer

The Jersey Boys was not as amazing as I remembered it to be 3/4 years ago, however with that said it was really really good. The music as you can imagine was brilliant! There were some brilliant singers but unfortunately I felt that the chorus was not quite there. 


I enjoyed watching the story unfold and I liked that each group member did some narrating, it was a great way to tell the story through different angles..  


If you are a fan of the Four Seasons's music then I would defiantly recommend the show. 

Lucy Loo
Tastemaker

What a great show! Full of fun and recognisable songs, many I'd heard before and hadn't realised were Frankie Valli songs! Perfect girly afternoon out with my mum, nan and sister. Highly recommended.

Carmen
Staff Writer

I have seen Jersey Boys three times, its one of the best show in London. Highly recommended if you are a fan of Fankie Valli and the Four seasons's songs and music!!!

Shelley H

I have seen the jersey boys 4 times now and I would watch it again every day if I could I have taken my 15 year old granddaughter and she loved it and then her friend wanted to see them so my husband and myself took them both and now they keep asking when are we going again I would recommend the jersey boys with my heart and soul to anyone of any age l love it ,I can honestly say I have never heard anyone say anything bad about the show jersey boys is a show I would never get bored of

Aditi V

Heartwarming, beautiful production. So engaging and fun! The view that the audience gets of the stage as they perform for their 'audience' is a very clever angle. Highly recommended for a fun evening out

retroashlat
tastemakerTastemaker

I will admit that I saw the film first and I left the cinema shocked at how many of the songs I knew - so I looked very much forward to seeing the show live. I was not disappointed! It was cool to see the staging and cast in a scaled-down way (compared to the film, of course); the music was great and the vocals were very well done in that they weren't overwrought and each actor kept their own tone but suited it to the time period. (Let's face it, the 60s had a sound all their own.)


I definitely recommend going to see this - fun for everyone and I guarantee you won't be able to get Frankie and the boys outta your head anytime soon after!

Kirsty E
Tastemaker

Absolutely love this show. Really great actors who are fabulous singers belting out old classics which are as well known today as in their day. Although the story is a little thin, it really doesn't matter..the songs carry it and there is just enough fun and humour to keep it engaging. You might think this is one for the oldies but as an under 30 I can assure you this appeals to all ages.. and my partner still credits this as his favourite show ever!

bailey1988
Tastemaker

I've now seen this musical twice... it's my absolute fav. It's full of well known hits and some adult humour. While I was one of the youngest in the audience (20s), the show did appeal to the younger age group due to the number of  Franki Valli's hits covered by more contemporary artists. My boyfriend was dubious to start with but by the end, he was completely won over. The theatre also offer snacks delivered to your seat if you download an app - how cool is that?!

Brian G

 Really enjoyed the show.Took my wife & our four children for my wife's birthday and everyone enjoyed it, even my 13yr and 15yr old girls who knew nothing of Frankie Valli or The Four Seasons.We were all surprised to hear so many songs which originally came from these guys.By the end we were all clapping and singing along to songs that are timeless.the cast were superb and the actor/singer that played Frankie,his voice was amazing.The story was put together very well incorporating the songs & how some of the songs came about.Moments of laughter,tears at times as well as uplifting.Would without doubt recommend.

Alanna S
Tastemaker

A really fun show- one of the better US imports. The music is awesome and the cast are all super talented. The story is well told but not overly involving...but it's all about the tunes anyway. One to take the parents to.

GeorgeX
Tastemaker

I can't actually define precisely what was that thing that I didn't like, but I was expecting more from this musical... Having seen the movie and knowing the true story behind the Jersey Boys prior to seeing the musical, I didn't enjoyed it so much...I was expecting to see more acting/script instead of being all time about singing....

Diana T
Tastemaker

It is INCREDIBLE! I went on my own and I had a great time, all the actors are great, and the story moves along quickly unlike many other musicals. The dancing is fun and upbeat, and the variety of the songs keeps you interested in what's to come. I definitely listened to the soundtrack for a week on repeat. If musicals in London were cheaper I'd go see this every couple of months. 

Luisa G
Tastemaker

I've seen this twice, and I would see it twice more. The casting is unbelievable, and the main character, who plays Frankie Valli just has an amazing voice!

MatureLinda

  American musicals aren't normally I would go to see but so many friends raved about it I thought I'd give it a go..  It was OK - it did at least have a story to tell that was mildly interesting - even if not earth shattering.  It's beyond me why it's so popular - but maybe if you're a fan of 60s pop and like musicals it will appeal to you.

Christie A

Such a fun night out! Great show, brilliant performances and amazing music. For any fans of The Four Seasons (or not) this is for you. The story is fascinating also and learning about the songs and how they came into being was so interesting. Beautifully choreographed also... If you're into musicals Jersey Boys is a must.  

Kritt N
Tastemaker

I absolutely loved the Jersey Boys. Admittedly, I didn't know much about the Jersey Boys or the story of Frankie Valli. I was surprised to learn the number of songs I love originated from the Jersey Boys. By the end, I was humming and replaying many songs in my head


I was blown away. The story flowed and combined themes of love, struggles, success and failure seamlessly. In short, the soundtrack was fantastic, the dialogue compelling, the acting convincing, the set minimal but romantic and I, too, gave it a standing ovation. One of my favourite west-end musicals and great for a date night.

Carolyn S
moderatorStaff Writer

I absolutely loved this show. I was obviously expecting the songs to be delivered to a high quality by talented performers, but I was blown away by the way in which the songs were performed. The story of Frankie Vallli was not known to me in any detail but after Jersey Boys I was not only educated, but actually humming songs (I din't even know were theirs) all the way home. The minimalistic set and quick scene changes along with the performances move the story of the band members along a pace and also actually managed to moved me emotionally. I gave it a standing ovation.

Warwick W

Loved it.

Without question the best dukebox musical in town. 

So many amazing songs to keep you entertained and sing along to in your head

emma t

Amazing show! My partner and I are 36 and worried that we might not know any of the songs but turned out we knew them all!! Couldn't recommend this show enough..Sandy Moffatt played Frankie and was absolutely amazing!! And very cute :) love, love, loved it..

Kane M

Fantastic show ! Enjoyed every minutes and it's worth every penny. Most of the audience was over 50 and everyone enjoyed the music. Franki was adorable.