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Theatre Review: Jersey Boys

A seamless musical experience from Des McAnuff where it is a hard task not to have a blast

Karl James Wilson, Adam Bailey, Ben Joyce in Jersey Boys

The genius of Jersey Boys is that you genuinely can’t see the joins. The storylines and the acting in musicals often amount to little more than Polyfilla to fix the big numbers together, but Des McAnuff ’s production has about it an exceptional seamlessness.

It necessarily takes a while to get into because it took a while for The Four Seasons to become The Four Seasons – they traded under other names like The Romans and The Lovers – and quite frankly it took them a while to find their collective voice.

Ben Joyce makes a very good job of Frankie Valli, the group’s frontman, and doesn’t even attempt to be charismatic until the end of the first act.

A counter-intuitive decision by the actor and singer, but an honest one: The charisma came over time.

It also allows the show to build up to a real crescendo. The songs – Walk Like a Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Bye Bye Baby etc – are delivered with great panache, but they are all integral parts of the story.

The chemistry between the actors playing the band is also either there naturally or a matter of extremely good acting: there was a moment when Karl James Wilson, playing Nick Massi, caught the eye of Joyce as Valli at the end of a performance and it said more than probably 30 pages of script about their relationship.

The sequins and big hair-dos of the sixties and seventies are painstakingly evoked and Klara Zieglerova’s scenic design serves as an effective time machine.

I challenge anyone to see this show and not have a blast.

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