It took a second viewing of Clint Eastwood’s film of the same name to get me to really love ‘Jersey Boys’, leading to the ultimate step: seeing the show in London’s Piccadilly Theatre. And let me say now: I have never wanted to dance in the aisles more in my theatrical viewing life.
Even people (like myself!) who are largely unaware of anything behind Frankie Valli (with an ‘i’, it’s Italian, like pizza!) won’t be able to resist the toe-tapping beat of the life of the Four Seasons, moving through their autumns and winters to their golden summers (although I do hear December ’63 is a very special time).
The fluid movement through the music is impeccable, and rather than feeling like a jukebox musical the beauty of The Four Seasons in their music feels like a life soundtrack, and as such applicable to every conceivable moment. Translation: the music carries you along so smoothly that if you blink, you’ll feel it’s over before it began!
The standout moment had to be Frankie singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ – the round of applause never stopped going around, and I loved it when he and others in different performances betrayed themselves by smiling at the response they received – they loved it as much as we did!
As tragic as the story of Francine is, I’m glad it doesn’t overwhelm the story; likewise with the imprisonments and trouble with loan sharks. The musical stays true to what it is: the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, not an overly emotive tragedy of four separate beings. As such, it may seem light and fluffy in its treatment of these major issues, but it was never trying to be anything else; it’s a feel-good celebration of outstanding music.
I can’t emphasise how much I recommend this; whether you’re a die hard fan or someone who only vaguely knows of hits like ‘Beggin” (something I had never realised was a Four Seasons tune!) and ‘Sherrie’, it’s the most uplifting musical performance I have heard in a long time, and the talent behind the performances is phenomenal. Take a trip to Jersey via London, and Walk Like a Man to the box office to experience a very special time.