Theatre Review: Oh What a Night! Jersey Boys at the Opera House

A night at the Opera House with the smash hit and multi-award winning Jersey Boys...
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Oh what a night! And what a night you’ll have if you spend it at the Opera House with the smash hit and multi-award winning Jersey Boys, the story of four boys from New Jersey – Tommy Devito (Steven Webb), Nick Massi (Lewis Griffiths), Bob Gaudio (Sam Ferriday) and, of course, Frankie Valli (Matt Corner) – who went onto to become The Four Seasons.

The opening number – a French rapper performing Ces Soirées-La (Oh What a Night) in Paris in 2000 – might make you wonder what show are you watching, but stick with it and try to keep up. Because this is the full story from beginning to end with the songs flowing at a pace and the group’s name changing just as often.

The storytelling technique puts the music in a new context that gives it more resonance. It’s nicely narrated by Tommy principally in the first half with the others adding their side of the story along the way. And once you get your ears round the Italian/American accent and some strong language.

You can appreciate this roller coaster of a story.

The songs come fast & furious. Some you’ll know and some may be not quite so familiar. Blink and you might miss some of the scenery changes with props coming on and off stage at such a rate that at times it’s hard to keep up! Watch out for the reprise of “Walk Like a Man” which ends the first half. The second half sees Frankie coming into his own as the trials and tribulations of the group unravel with the emergence of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, climaxing with a reunion of the original four and a finale of “Who Loves You Baby” which had the audience clapping all the way to a standing ovation.

Not all the hits are included in the show but the ones that are nicely compliment the story, which is based on the book of the same name by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The staging is simple yet complex with a large creative and production team working their magic with input from Bob Gaudio, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995, joined by lyricist Bob Crewe whose association with the boys goes back to 1957 when he co-wrote and produced “Silhouettes” for The Rays. This is certainly a team full of talent, having won many Tony, Grammy and Oliver awards.

The supporting cast, especially the musicians, give an excellent performances, with a special mention for Joe Elferink taking the role of Bob Crewe and Damian Buhagiar who plays Joe Pesci. Yes THAT Joe Pesci! A touching moment follows the tragic loss of Frankie’s daughter when Fallen Angel is beautifully performed by Matt Corner, who also gets a rapturous applause for Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. They say Big Girls Don’t Cry but a few in the audience could be seen shedding a discreet tear!

So take advantage of the smart suits and glitter and head to the Opera House for a great 60s night out.

Tickets

The Opera House Manchester until November 7

Tickets atgtickets.com/shows/jersey-boys/opera-house-manchester

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