Sunday, 14 February 2010
Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward
With all of the song-writing activity at the moment because of that FAWM (February Album Writing Month) thing, it seemed appropriate to see a show which at least partly featured song writing within it.
Jersey Boys has been in the West End for quite some time, and I think originated in the US and after Broadway was added to the UK list of West End musicals featuring pop.
I'll admit that Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is before my time, so I didn't really have a clue about their songs, although as the evening proceeded I found that I recognised nearly all of them, chiefly from covers by other singers and bands.
The story is kind-of predictable local boy makes good/form band/become successful/have strife/disintegrate/reform to collect Hall of Fame Awards. Spinal Tap without the big amplifiers.
The setting in Jersey with Italian/gangs/Mafia connotations was interesting and the arrival of Bob Gaudio the songwriter who'd had one previous hit at age 15 with 'we wear short shorts' flipped them from quite good into a viable mainstream pop commodity.
Gaudio's hits with the band included "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Sherry Baby," "Rag Doll," "Walk Like a Man," "Bye Bye Baby," "Silence Is Golden," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You."
There's also a gay record producer, various cigar smoking bigwigs, jazzy and seedy clubs, ladies of the road and dozens of songs, mainly played for about a minute instead of the 2mins30 of the era.
Strong staging, it makes for a pleasant evening out, easy to follow, predictable storyline but an upbeat way of telling it. The house was packed - its clearly a hit with the out-of-towners.
We enjoyed it as a piece of simple entertainment. As we left the theatre, everyone was smiling and buzzing from a good evening's show.