‘Jersey Boys’ is touring the UK at the moment and tonight it’s the opportunity of the Empire, Liverpool to host the famous four as we watch the story of Frankie Valli & the four seasons unfold live on stage! This jukebox musical, which was written in 2004, celebrates the group that took the world and the music industry by storm in the 1960s and the 1970s.
The story is quite basic compared to other musicals but perhaps this is because it’s much closer to the truth than most musicals. It starts at the beginning where a young Tommy DeVito (Dalton Wood) is in and out of trouble and trying to make a break in the music industry. He takes a young Frankie Valli (Luke Suri) under his wing and alongside Nick Massi (Norton James), they make a band. They are on the lookout for a fourth member and when the talented singer songwriter Bob Gaudio (Blaire Gibson) appears, they become a four. We take off on a rollercoaster journey with this band as they face setbacks, success, love, loss, betrayal and everything in-between but ultimately, the musical focuses on celebrating the undeniable sound and fantastic records created by this group.
It’s not long before the iconic foot tapping, clapping, clicking and swaying start to appear and the audience come to life when the band’s first big break through “Sherry” lights up the stage. After that, the audience enjoy song after song, hit after hit, “Bye Bye baby”, “I Love You Baby”, “Working my Way Back to You Babe” to name a few. At one point in the second act, I did think that the show felt more like a concert tribute than a musical, but I didn’t really care – the quality was incredible! The meaning and lyrics of songs such as ‘Big girls don’t cry’ and ‘walk like a man’ may be outdated but the power in the sound and musicality has not. I would go as far as saying this is some of the best music ever produced and clearly I’m not alone in hearing the audience scream with delight and get to their feet at the end of a few big numbers.
The set is simple but well thought through with spiral stairs being utilised on both sides of the stage and a walkway across the back cleverly used for entrances and exits. Screens and bright neon lights are used to represent different locations, times and seasons. The scene changes were seamless, the production team have done a stellar job on creating something very fluid and interesting having the whole show filled with moving furniture, screens and set. This helped the show to flow impressively in a relaxed and entertaining manner.
The vocal talent is undeniable with the band creating those beautiful much-loved harmonies accompanied by the iconic highs from Frankie Valli and lows from Nick Massi. Teamed of course by Bob Gaudio (Blaire Gibson) and Tommy DeVito (Dalton Wood), these four created beautiful tones all night that were a complete triumph with the audience. The choreography oozed that 60s energy that we know and love, both the male and female performers never missed a beat with their eye-catching performances. There is a vibrance from this era that many of us never got to experience but tonight, the performers transported us back to the 60s with their liveliness and excitement in bucketful’s.
It is no surprise that Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons were so successful given their music is still entertaining audiences effortlessly today. This show does not have the gripping impact that you’ll get with other musicals (let’s face it, it’s hard when comparing to the drama of Les Misérables which has just left the Empire) but sometimes you just need something a bit light and fun so you can sit back, relax and enjoy! Well done to the whole cast and crew- the audience ‘adored’ you! Jersey Boys continues at The Empire, Liverpool until Saturday 5th of February, for ticket information please visit: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/jersey-boys/liverpool-empire/
Reviewer: Bláthíne Maguire
Reviewed: 27th January 2022
North West End Rating: ★★★★