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Jersey Boys - UK Tour - Birmingham Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Can't Take My Eyes Off This Slick Musical
There's no doubt you will have heard the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as they have sold 175 million records worldwide and their songs have gone on to be covered time and time again - but do you know the fascinating story of their lives?

It is these true-life frenetic friendships, gambling addictions and romantic liaisons that make Jersey Boys more than just an average jukebox musical. Instead it is a vibrant personal journey of four lovable and very different buddies from New Jersey who go from singing under a lamppost to being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Jersey Boys1
Jersey Boys is more than just a jukebox musical.


Jersey Boys has already secured success in Broadway and London's West End but now it is heading out for its first tour of the UK to cities including Manchester, Bristol and Oxford. I caught the show at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre, where it stays for the Christmas season until January 4.

It catches you off guard in the opening scene when a rapper comes out singing one of their hits in French, but then band member Tommy DeVito magically appears to take the audience back in time after reminding them that Frankie Valli and the Four Season's hits are still being sung and topping the charts well into the 21st Century.

Jersey Boys3
Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons


Starting from the beginnings of the group in New Jersey, its easy to grow fond of each of the singers - Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi, and the most troubled of all, Tommy DeVito - as we see the near misses, the brushes with the mob (and prison) and what led to their ultimate fallout. There's even a young Joe Pesci before he became a movie star in there for good measure too.

The action is constant and fluid, quickly moving from scene to scene linked by fine songs including Sherry, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don't Cry and Bye Bye Baby. The back catalogue of hits seems endless and is incredible to think that they achieved this success before they had even reached the age of 30. The highlight of them all is a performance of the song that almost never made it - Can't Take My Eyes Off You.

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It's an exciting ride keeping up with the lives and loves of the Jersey Boys


The music, slick dance routines and recreations of live shows and television appearances adds to the razmatazz and help the performance fly by. There's also some clever choregraphy using TV cameras where the live show on stage appears on a screen in black and white the way it would have to television viewers in the 1960s.

What makes it even more special is the talented cast. Tim Driesen as Frankie Valli impressively recreates the lead singer's high pitched tones. He previously played Frankie Valli for a short season at the Prince Edward Theatre in the West End too, so has had plenty of practise in perfecting the role.

Meanwhile, Lewis Griffith's deep voice as Nick Massi is as wonderfully low as Driesen's is high, even when he speaks. Then there is Sam Ferriday as Bob Gaudio and Stephen Webb as Tommy DeVito, who are equally as watchable as the foursome change from one sharp suit to another as their success grows.

Jersey Boys
Jersey Boys goes on tour


Flitting between highs and lows, this show obviously resonates with an older crowd that remember the Four Seasons during their heyday, but it's a well oiled production mixing comedy, drama and music that also makes it entertaining for younger audiences.

You may not know much about the back story of Frankie Valli and his friends before you go into see this theatrical giant of a show, but by the time you come out, you'll be glad you do now.

Rating: 8/10

Jersey Boys

UK Tour Dates:

Tickets cost from £17.90 to £60.90 from the Jersey Boys UK Tour website or the ATG Theatre Ticket Website.

Birmingham Alexandra Theatre
9 Dec 2014 - 3 Jan 2015
Book Tickets on 0844 871 3011

Canterbury Marlowe Theatre
20 Jan 2015 - 31 Jan 2015
Book Tickets on 01227 787787

Milton Keynes Theatre
3 Feb 2015 - 14 Feb 2015
Book Tickets on 0844 871 7652

Southend Cliffs Pavilion
17 Feb 2015 - 28 Feb 2015
Book Tickets on 01702 351135

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen
3 Mar 2015 - 14 Mar 2015
Book Tickets on 0845 270 8200

Woking New Victoria Theatre
17 Mar 2015 - 28 Mar 2015
Book Tickets on 0844 871 7645

Dublin Bord Gais Energy Theatre
1 Apr 2015 - 18 Apr 2015
Book Tickets on 0844 847 2455

Bradford Alhambra Theatre
28 Apr 2015 - 9 May 2015
Book Tickets on 01274 432000

Oxford New Theatre
12 May 2015 - 23 May 2015
Book Tickets on 0844 871 3020

Bristol Hippodrome
26 May 2015 - 13 Jun 2015
Book Tickets on 0844 871 3012

Liverpool Empire Theatre
23 Jun 2015 - 4 Jul 2015

Norwich Theatre Royal
7 Jul 2015 - 18 Jul 2015
Book Tickets on 01603 630000

Southampton Mayflower Theatre
4 Aug 2015 - 15 Aug 2015
Book Tickets on 02380 711811

Theatre Royal Plymouth
18 Aug 2015 - 5 Sep 2015
Tickets on sale soon

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Why? Top Musical On Rock and Roll Hall of Famers
When: Touring from December 2014 to September 2015
Phone: Various - see UK Tour List
Where: UK Tour - Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre and more
Cost: £17.90 - £60.90
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