Jersey Boys reviewed at Artscape

2013-06-20 14:47
Jersey Boys
Jersey Boys, the worldwide musical phenomenon written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe, opens on 19 June 2013 at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town, after a stint in Singapore and a sell-out leg in Johannesburg.

It tells the candid, true-life story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. To be honest, the only Four Seasons I knew of before the show was the luxurious hotel featured in many movies, testament to my lack of musical knowledge from the 1960s.

But once these four guys started singing, I recognised the original tunes that have been redone and popularised even further, songs like Big Girls Don't Cry, December 63 (Oh What a Night) and Can't Take My Eyes Off You.

The Four Seasons - made up of the angelic-voiced Frankie Valli, songwriter Bob Gaudio, guitarist Tommy DeVito and bassist Nick Massi are said to be the most popular rock band prior to The Beatles. They wrote their own songs, sold 175 million records globally before they were 30 and made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The Jersey Boys musical, which has an all-South African cast of renowned theatre actors as well as the familiar face of TV star Emmanuel Castis, who played Steve in Isidingo, recollects the story of how The Four Seasons catapulted to fame and the arduous journey they travelled.

The story is narrated by the four band members who reminisce about their journey and seem to recall the events and happenings slightly differently. It reveals their wrong-side-of-the-tracks background, coming from Newark, New Jersey and their struggle with petty crime, which results in time in the slammer, their relationships with women that at some point threatens to tear the group apart and highlights the group's dynamics and the different characteristics of each of the band members that endear them to the audience.

We are introduced to the tumultuous and mercurial Tommy (played by Daniel Buys) who initiates the group, the ever-so-loyal lead singer Franki (played by Grant Almirall), the enormously talented writer Bob (played by Kenneth Meyer) and the hilarious and emphatic Nick (played by Emmanuel Castis) who constantly threatens to start his own band.

Together with the female characters played by Carmen Pretorius, Taryn-Lee Hudson and Kirsten Murphy-Rossiter and the rest of the crew, this show is a must-see and will probably have a greater appeal with a more mature audience for whom the nostalgic trip down memory will almost certainly be a highlight.

The characters in this production remind me of the rambunctious people of Jerseylicious with the over-the-top personalities and their propensity for profanities. The script is cleverly written and interjected with lots of humour.

The acting is convincing, very entertaining and highly energetic. Get your tickets at Computicket today!
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The SA production of the Tony Award-winning Broadway and West End hit is a must-see and will probably have a greater appeal with a more mature audience.
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