Wednesday, 30 September 2009

When New Jersey Meets London

I think I may have mentioned the show "Jersey Boys" before in a blog. Though if I have it would have been a long time ago. I had last seen this show in the early days of summer, and boy that seems like a long time ago. Well that is of course if you can call it summer? Lets face it the weather was pretty awful, and as I write this the rain is pouring down outside. It's great to be British isn't it? But that is far from the theme of this blog, for this we need to hit East Coast America, New Jersey to be precise, which is the setting for the smash hit West End musical "Jersey Boys".

Now in its second year and still supporting much of the original London cast, Jersey Boys is still packing out The Prince Edward theatre, which is quite an achievement it must be said. Just one look at the sheer size of the auditorium is a statement to the calibre of show which is required to pack the place out night after night. Jersey Boys does just that. Unlike some shows based on musicians of years gone by, this show isn't just about the music. There is a solid story covering the rag to riches tale of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Hell you don't even need to be a fan of Frankie's to enjoy this show, it's that good.

I was lucky enough to catch Ryan Molloy as Frankie Valli. For some reason I always seem to miss him when he is on. Maybe he is scared I will write him a bad blog or something! Well I assure you that would never happen, as all the actors, including the understudies, many of whom I have seen in the five times that I have seen this show always deliver a fantastic performance. This brings me to one of my most important lessons in drama, and that is the rule of "you must make a scene truthful in imaginary circumstances". Ryan does just this, he ceases to be Ryan Molloy, I guess he must have used some extensive method acting techniques to really fill the role of Frankie Valli like he has.

The musical of course includes all the hit songs such as "Sherry", "Walk Like A Man" and "Big Girls Don't Cry". Though they also include some of the more obscure numbers and the songs that you hear all the time, but never quite knew who had performed them in the first place. You know the ones? The songs from television adverts, or cover songs performed by current music stars. Either way, it's is a real diverse mix. You have to remember in their prime the band never really hit the UK shores as Beatle Mania was in its height, so for many fans this show is as close to seeing the real thing as you will get. Well not quite, Frankie still tours, but with regards to the original line up, its something that will never be able to happen since Nick Massi passed away in December 2000.

This show really demonstrates that a lot more goes on behind the scenes of any band than ever makes it to the spot light. Mafia links, money laundering, petty crime, love affairs, broken hearts and broken families just hit on a few of the themes covered in the show. As for the way the story is told, it is genius. The way emotion is once agaain used as a tool to toy with the characters is fantastic.

So why is the story's structure genius? Each of the band members tell their interpretation of the story which is split into four seasons. A clever twist on the name, don't you think? Tommy DiVeto is spring, telling his interpretation of how the band started out. Bob Gaudio becomes summer, with his take on the development of the band. Nick Massi is autumn, with his synopsis of events in the bands falling apart whilst Franki Valli covers winter which see's him go solo with a new backing band. Each season is told with the band member's personality in mind, and like one of the opening lines in the show "you ask four guys what happened, you get four different versions". Thats life isn't it? We all have different takes on how things happen, and we remember things the way that we want to remember them!

Well how do I remember this show? It is fantastic! It is a show you can see time and time again, and a definite recommendation of mine! So what are you waiting for? Go book your tickets now!

G xxx

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