Theatre Review: Jersey Boys | Living North

Theatre Review: Jersey Boys


Jersey Boys on stage
Award-winning musical Jersey Boys has been performed worldwide to critical acclaim. We head to Sunderland Empire to see what the fuss is about

Jersey Boys has been a hit since it was introduced to Broadway in 2005. The gritty, behind-the-scenes story of the personal lives of 1960s rock ‘n’ roll band Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (one of the most successful bands in pop history) had previously been kept under wraps, but here it is displayed for all to see with wit, emotion and the occasional surprise. 

The band’s jolly, toe-tapping tunes came alongside lives of crime, punishment and drugs – and this musical brings meaning to their plethora of hits. I guarantee you will laugh, cry and struggle not to get out of your seat and dance (in fact, a few members of the audience did so).

From You’re the Apple of My Eye, Sunday Kind of Love and Sherry, to Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man and Rag Doll – there’s a familiar song every other minute in this musical, making it feel more like a music concert with a storyline than a musical. You get the best of both worlds.

From the band’s struggle to share their music, to success, gambling problems and family dramas, Jersey Boys exposes the ups and downs of the lives of these four average boys from Jersey who came from the wrong side of the tracks, but happen to be hugely talented. The serious and often life-threatening situations are lightened with jokes, excellent comedic timing, and of course the catchy songs.

The talented actors brought 1960s Jersey to life. North East actor Michael Pickering displayed his talents as the show’s star, Frankie Valli. Not only was his falsetto a fantastic replica of the original Frankie’s, but he, along with the rest of the cast, also had the difficult Jersey accent mastered. 

It’s hard to believe the story is one of real life. The scenes of revenge, betrayal, crime and family issues couldn’t be more dramatic if they were made up. As writer Rick Elice stated, ‘It’s Shakespearean in its scope.’

Catch Jersey Boys at Sunderland Empire from 8th–19th September. 
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Published in: September 2015

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