Theatre Review: Jersey Boys is an exuberant musical featuring timeless songs (Melbourne)

I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons has returned to Melbourne for 8 weeks and you don’t want to miss out on this breathtaking musical. It follows the journey of four blue-collar boys as they rose through the ranks to become one of the biggest musical icons in history.

As someone who didn’t grow up with the music of the Four Seasons and didn’t know their story this was still an exuberant musical production. The Jersey Boys narrative takes you through the rise of the Four Seasons from their beginnings to the very end and it’s thoroughly engaging throughout. The story is told in a way that makes it easy to follow and easy to engage with the characters individually and as a group. Their rich individual personalities shine through and the humour weaved into the musical does so much for fleshing out their characters, giving you more about who they are. The production chooses to fill in the gaps of the story and provide context to scenes through having each of the group’s members take turns in narrating directly to the audience. This was a great creative decision as it gives you more time with each of the members and draws the audience in further by talking directly to them.

The production kicks off on a slightly slower pace as it goes through the very early stages of what would later become the Four Seasons. At this pace it looks as though the rest of the musical is going to feel like a long journey. Once everything falls into place though it’s a fast and thrilling ride to the finish as it goes through the highs and the lows of what it takes to be the hottest musical sensation in the US.

The music is what most come for and it’s what shines brightest throughout the entire production. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons have a bank-full of unforgettable hits and each time the cast break into a new song it’s like a fire is lit inside the Regent Theatre. The energy in the audience was electric throughout the night and everyone only got more involved and more excited as time went on. The line-up of songs retains a very upbeat tone throughout and even when the story takes some more sombre all it takes is a little bit of Sherry to liven everyone up. There’s enough music to go around and fill the entire runtime which closes out with a final set-piece that blows the roof off the theatre.

The four lead performances are what really cap off this show and make it as good as it can be. Ryan Gonzalez portrays Frankie Valli, Cameron MacDonald is Tommy DeVito, Thomas McGuane is Bob Gaudio, and Glaston Toft is Nick Massi in what are four incredible performances. The four of them have great stage presence and manage to draw the attention of the audience through their own methods unique to their characters’ personalities. Ryan Gonzalez specifically gives his all and transforms into Frankie Valli in what is a phenomenal starring role. Each of the stars are fantastic in both their acting and musical sequences and exhibit great chemistry between each-other which makes it so much more enjoyable. They have the voice and they have the moves which are slick and take you back to when the Four Seasons ruled the music industry.

Jersey Boys is a stellar musical that you should check out if you’re a fan of the music or musicals in general. The music is timeless and the production itself makes the most of a great story and incredible performances to deliver a night you won’t forget any time soon.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Purchase tickets for Jersey Boys here: https://jerseyboys.com.au/tickets/melbourne/

Jersey Boys is playing in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre through to April 14.

The reviewer attended the performance on 2nd March 2019.

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