With Jess on the holiday of a lifetime, Amy went to Oxford’s New Theatre on Wednesday night to see the touring UK production of Jersey Boys.
In Jersey, there’s only three ways out: the military, the mob or by becoming a star.
That’s the introduction to Jersey Boys from the character of Tommy Devito (played by Simon Bailey) and from the moment that line is uttered, the musical reels you in for a ride of musical success, top-selling singles and a whole host of drama.
For those that aren’t familiar with the show, Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli, Tommy Devito, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi, more famously known as The Four Seasons, and how they escaped their home of New Jersey to achieve international, musical stardom.
L-R: Bob Gaudio (Declan Egan), Frankie Valli (Michael Watson), Tommy Devito (Simon Bailey) and Nick Massi (Lewis Griffiths)
I’m not personally the biggest fan of Jukebox Musicals, especially with what seems like a new one opening every week on the West End, but watching the touring production of Jersey Boys in Oxford, I quickly realised just why the show won both the prestigious Tony and the Olivier Awards for Best New Musical.
The music is wonderfully familiar, with hits such as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, “Beggin’”, “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man”; but it’s the carefully crafted story I loved. The narration, split into four, so each original member of the band can tell their side of the story, was carefully blended with dramatic scenes as the group began to fall apart due to Tommy Devito’s association with the mob and spiraling debts.
The show gets gradually more intense as it progresses, but it’s all delivered with a laugh – I was an especially big fan of Nick Massi’s (played by Lewis Griffiths) one liners! And Bob Gaudio (Declan Egan) brought a youthful energy to the show that reflects the songs about love and romance.
It’s not surprising that Frankie Valli steals the show. Michael Watson’s vocals are near perfection and really mimic Frankie’s famous voice that made the band so successful. But for me it was Simon Bailey as Tommy Devito who stood out – capturing traditional Italian-American charm as a wannabe gangster (who can also perfect some cracking choreography with a guitar!)
A special Christmas gift from the Jersey Boys team!
You can catch Jersey Boys in Oxford until January 6th 2019 and see other tour dates via http://www.jerseyboysuktour.com