Jersey Boys @ Playhouse, Edinburgh

Oh what a night, indeed – the West End hit's new touring production is full of joy and energy

Review by Sarah Colston | 22 Feb 2019
  • Jersey Boys 2

The long-running hit West End jukebox musical Jersey Boys, which retells the stories of the rise and fall and rise again of the band Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, ended its extraordinary nine-year run in London early last year, and has been seen by more than 23 million people worldwide. Cast and crew bring a conspicuous joy and energy to this new touring production of the Olivier and Tony award-winning show.

Jersey Boys showcases the fascinating story of the 60’s American pop sensation previously known as The Four Lovers and then The Wonder Who?, exploring the lives of the four blue-collar New Jersey boys as they rose to international stardom, but also delving into the turbulent dynamics that beset their lives offstage. Written by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman, and based on interviews with surviving band members Valli, Bob Gaudio and Tommy DeVito, the show provides a glimpse into each of the mens' differing personalities with great attention to detail. 

Often breaking the fourth wall, each character narrates one of the four acts or 'seasons'. Light relief is provided by Simon Bailey as Tommy DeVito as the band’s resident ne’er do well, while Michael Watson as Frankie Valli superbly channels his unique singing style. Hits including Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Walk Like a Man and Bye Bye Baby are included, but the band’s first two number one singles Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry performed back to back are the real showstoppers.

Declan Egan as Gaudio, and Lewis Griffiths as former band member Nick Massi offer game support, and while the production has a small cast its costume and scene changes are skillfully handled. The choreography by Sergio Trujillo is also deft and fun. At the age of 84, Frankie Valli continues to perform live, and just like him, this touring production of Jersey Boys looks to  be in it for the long haul.

Jersey Boys @ Edinburgh Playhouse, until Sat 2 Mar, various times