Four years after first opening in Melbourne, Jersey Boys re-opened last night for a brief return season. The cast is predominately new but the gutsy and moving story of The Four Seasons remains timeless and entertaining as ever.
The first moments of Last nights incarnation of the show were somewhat underwhelming, with the contemporary French adaption of 'Oh What a Night' a cacophony of incoherent sound and incomprehensible choreography. Fortunately this unnecessary prologue made way for the rest of the show as Anthony Harkin (Tommy DeVito
) Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio
) Glaston Toft (Nick Massi) and Jeff Madden
) guide us through the intricacies of the groups formation and existence, through to its eventual disbandment. Each actor brings his own strengths to the portrayal of their respective character and work in harmony together culminating in some particularly gripping moments.
These moments are what makes Jersey Boys one of the most successful jukebox musicals we have seen over the past ten years. Its script stands alone and when you throw the Four Seasons songs on top of it you are left with a truly remarkable show. Another reason the show is so successful is the supporting featured ensemble cast all of whom thrive in their moment and fit perfectly in the onstage puzzle as its pieced together.
While the show may have started indifferently and spluttered along for the first forty minutes, it builds quite remarkably after a trio of number 1 hits from the Four Seasons including 'Sherry', 'Big Girls Don't Cry' and 'Walk Like A Man.' From this moment on the audience are captured and revel as hit after hit are performed with class and style from the cast.
Without a doubt it is Jeff Madden
as Franki Valli
who is the heart and soul of this show. Madden's voice is effortless and quite perfect as Valli and while the sound balance was at times favouring the orchestra, Madden's voice cut through with particular poignancy throughout the evening.
Jersey Boys is a first class show with a truly fine cast and is without a doubt a must see. It reminds us that even though we are exposed to shows that lower our expectations of theatre, this show is a shining light in amongst an industry filled with musicals that may claim, but cannot deliver on the quality that is Jersey Boys.
Princess Theatre Melbourne
until March 24