Jersey Boys, Manchester Opera House – Theatre Review

This week I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Jersey Boys at Manchester’s Opera House and for a show that is brimming with testosterone, which has never been my best friend, it was wonderful and I loved it!

I’d never really paid much attention to The Four Seasons, and Frankie Valli was just the vaguely familiar name of a crooner that came about 20 years before my time. I knew a few of their songs, without knowing they were theirs, so my post-show excitement was stifled a little because my subject knowledge was weak. But my lack of knowledge didn’t dampen my enjoyment one bit!

The swearing helped. How many times can a guy enjoy hearing the F-bomb being dropped by real-life actors on a stage? More F-bombs, please. Defying fucking gravity, am I right?

It’s a slow-burner and at first a lot of it went over my head. But as soon as The Four Seasons were signed, the musical numbers ballooned with pizazz, and they belted out classic song after classic song – I was LOVING IT!

I realised that the show is supposed to start off like that and everyone in the audience is like, ‘Cool. Alright . . . When will things get going?’ and then BAM! The band gets their first hit and ‘Sherry’ starts. It injected every single person in the audience with energy and excitement and from then on you could feel the electricity.

The change of energy is rather like the sudden change from everyday life to the life of stardom the characters find themselves flung into. Very clever, Jersey Boys writers – very clever.

Once again I fell in love with the cast and I have to start with my MVP because I haven’t stopped thinking about him for the last 36 hours. Lewis Griffiths played Nick Massi, the dark, brooding bassist of The Four Seasons. From the very beginning of the show I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Everyone else onstage might as well have not been there. I would have left the theatre to call my mum to tell her I’d fallen in love right there and then, if I could have moved out of my seat.

I don’t think Griffiths even spoke for well over an hour and I was completely fine with it, the handsome bast. And then when he did talk, I was all, ‘Yaass, Nicky! Tell Tommy he’s a heathen who doesn’t pick up his towels!’ His acting, singing and dancing was great too, of course. I’m not just thirsting over him. He was genuinely great in his role and at his craft. Top notch work, Lewis! What a babe! Love me, please?

Matt Corner stepped into the boots of Frankie Valli, and holy moly, can that guy belt out a high note! He was superb! At first I was all, ‘I like this guy. He can sing super high. Hell, yeah! In your face gender stereotypes!’ Then ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ happened after Bob Gaudio fighting with producer after producer in the show to get it recorded and I almost peed everywhere.

That song smacked me across the face – like literally gave me a crack across the chops – because it was fucking incredible! People are supposed to give standing ovations at the end of a show, but nope. People were on their feet as soon as it ended, howling with adoration. Matt stood totally soaking in the applause for way longer than he was supposed to have done, but he deserved it. He was perfect.

The other members of the cast were brilliant too. Sam Ferriday played Bob Gaudio and I couldn’t put my finger on where his accent was supposed to be from, but I loved him nonetheless. Stephen Webb, playing Tommy DeVito, was the perfect douchebag.

The four guys merged perfectly, and man, those harmonies got me right in the audible pleasure feels. The chemistry was so good! Perfect piece of casting!

I also have to mention Joel Elferink, who filled the role of Bob Crewe, the scheming music producer who signed The Four Seasons with the promise of recording their own tracks but actually just wanted them as backing vocalists. He was brilliant! His campness and je ne sais quoi just made me thoroughly enjoy his presence whenever he was on stage. I got Bill-Hader-on-Saturday-Night-Live vibes from him, just without the hate-crime screaming eyes. Bravo!

Shout out to the three women who played The Angels, opening for the boys with ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’, which was amazing and got a whoop from me. I think I got overwhelmed because I got the bit of female energy I was missing.

The music in Jersey Boys was phenomenal. I would like to shake every single member of the band’s hands and pat them on the back. The drummer who was constantly in the middle of the stage, the trumpet and sax players, the guitarists, the pianists – all marvellous! Great job done by everyone involved!

There wasn’t much choreography in Jersey Boys, but there didn’t need to be. It was all very one-step, arm-swing, finger-click, guitar-flick, tip-toes, and repeat, and it worked perfectly. I realise that’s how the menfolk danced in the 60s and it made me happy. I liked it a lot.

Jersey Boys is a brilliant show, and now I know a lot more about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and I’m very happy in the knowledge that I know more about them. I can now put an artist to some of the most famous and recognisable songs in history, and I can appreciate the work that went into them coming to fruition. Great show, great actors, great music! 10/10!

The Jersey Boys run ends tonight in Manchester, but it also tours Glasgow and then Edinburgh. You can get your tickets on the ATG website.

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