Theatre review: Jersey Boys
- Lorna Irvine
- 15 December 2015
Musical set in sixties America hits some of the right notes
Bankrolled by mobsters in the early sixties, smart-suited vocal group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons have a fascinating backstory. This perennial stage success, written by Woody Allen co-writer Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, has much going for it: a lot of heart, great pop art-inspired design by Klara Zieglerova and some strong central performances.
Matt Corner is a complex Valli, whose brush with fame turns him from gauche Italian-American kid to errant father. His vocal range is undeniably impressive. Louche songwriter Bob Crewe is invested by Joel Elferink with a lot of sass,and Nick Massi (a fantastic Lewis Griffiths) is the interesting, lanky eccentric of the band with the booming voice.
But the script is immensely problematic, peppered with wise guy cliched humour and a less than lustrous attitude to women, who in the main, are either ball busters or bimbos.Only Valli's girlfriend Lorraine, wonderfully portrayed by Leanne Garretty, is a multi-faceted female with great lines. The scene where Valli's daughter Francine (Samantha Hull) has been found dead of a drug overdose is cringeworthy, Valli reacting as though he'd misplaced a dollar.
However, both the in-fighting and increasingly slick stagecraft as the band grow is beautifully rendered, with a particularly skin-prickling version of 'Beggin'' given unbearable poignancy as the guys realise the dream they worked so hard to achieve is perhaps not worth all the heartache. As a chronicle of the flip-side (the B-side) of sixties innocence, it's a far smarter jukebox musical than most of the genre.
Theatre Royal Glasgow (0844 871 7647) 8 Dec 2015 – 3 Jan 2016.