Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 16th July 2022
Reviewed by Sally Lumley
Jersey Boys brings hit after hit to the Mayflower this week in a toe-tapping show that has something for everyone.
Jersey Boys tells the story of how four ordinary boys from New Jersey became the chart topping Four Seasons. Nothing is held back as we see the life of crime the boys were so determined to escape, the family heartbreak that came as the price of fame, and the band dynamics that ultimately pushed them apart. This serves to set each of their hits in context, and the rollercoaster drama of what was happening in their lives strikes a sharp contrast to the bright pop songs that intersperse it.
The boys themselves were played by Michael Pickering (Frankie Valli), Dalton Wood (Tommy DeVito), Norton James (Nick Massi) and Dougie Carter (Bob Gaudio). Pickering is perfection as Valli, pulling off his signature falsetto voice with ease and hitting every high note with confidence. Wood brings a menacing charisma to the role of Tommy, the driving force of the band, unable in the end to shake off his past. The brotherly bond that brings the boys together is completely believable, and the audience is rooting for their friendship right up until the end of the show.
All four boys had the dance moves completely in sync and the harmonies were absolutely on point throughout. We found out afterwards that a number of swings and understudies were covering parts, but we would never have known as the show was completely seamless so huge praise to all of them – they absolutely smashed it.
The staging is minimal but is used to great effect. A drummer on stage for nearly the whole show drives music as the beating heart of the story, and the audience is treated to hit after hit, such as Bye Bye Baby, Sherry, Walk Like a Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and many, many more. By the end of the show the whole theatre was on their feet – Oh what a night!