Friday, December 9

Jersey Boys – Opera House, Manchester

The swinging 60s, what a time to be alive! The first man walked on the moon, England won the World Cup, and of course Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons became international sensations. However, their journey to fame wasn’t always as slick as their harmonies, as is presented in the stage musical, Jersey Boys.

As the curtain goes up, the audience are greeted with a rendition of the classic ‘Oh What a Night’, which really sets the tone for the evening. However, this has a more contemporary twist on the classic hit.

On this night Frankie Valli was played by Ryan Heenan, who I was surprised to learn was the understudy for the role. He was absolutely sublime and a perfect fit for the character. Singing mostly in falsetto is very difficult, especially for a male, but he did a great job and has some fantastic dance moves to back it up.

We’re also introduced to the other members of the group; Bob Gaudio (Blair Gibson), Nick Massi (Christopher Short) and Tommy DeVito (Dalton Wood). It was great to learn about each of their personalities and how they went from Jersey boys to international popstars.

Although this is a jukebox musical, the songs are cleverly placed within the score, so it never feels out of place. Some of the numbers feel perfectly chosen to reflect the mood of show, from broken marriages and family problems.

However, I think it’s fair to say that ‘can’t’ Take My Eyes Off You’ gets the biggest response from the audience. At times it did feel like we were at a rowdy nightclub, and not a sophisticated night at the theatre. I do feel the staff at the Opera House on this occasion could have done more to ensure things didn’t get too out of hand.

The set was absolutely fantastic – great work by Klara Zieglerova. The way the live band is intertwined with the everyday life of the group was fantastic, and the seamless ability to go from recording studio to live TV performances was very clever.

From start to end, this production is filled with classic hits, and I was thoroughly entertained. The running time, particularly in Act 1, veered a tad on the long side, but all in all a great night out.

Playing until 29th October,

Reviewer: Brian Madden

Reviewed: 19th October 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★