Jersey Boys is a story of music, but also of friendship and survival: the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, an American band that became internationally successful in the 1960s and 1970s. The show is back at the brand-new Trafalgar Theatre, which has just opened following a major multi-million-pound restoration project.
Tommy De Vito (Benjamin Yates, the strongest performance in the show) was the founder of the group and assembled most of the other members of the trio, including Nick Massi, (Karl James Wilson) and Bob Gaudio (Adam Bailey). The group then recruited Frankie Valli (Ben Joyce), who began his singing career in the early 1950s with the Variety Trio, and then became The Four Seasons. For some people, the story might not be particularly interesting, but it is amazing to see how many massive hits they have released over the years.
Valli is brilliantly played with powerful falsetto and great charisma by Ben Joyce, who is making his West End debut, but all the members of the band are an easy match for the lead.
The show flows seamlessly, thanks also to the sleek direction of Des McAnuff and the choreography of Sergio Turjillo, and, of course, the great ensemble. Maybe 34 songs in two hours might seem excessive, but it’s amazing to realise how many hits the band released, and no song misses the mark in the context of the story, especially with these flawless performances.
Jersey Boys is a great jukebox musical: it’s a fun tale of a group of guys and their band during the early years of rock and roll, with catchy songs, sassy dialogues, exciting performances, some “Italian drama” and unstoppable energy.
It runs until 2 January 2022. Tickets here.
Photo: Mark Senior