May 6th, 2014
Reviewed: Tuesday 6th May 2014, with Sandy Moffatt playing Frankie Valli
By Natalie Vincent
Great night out: For music lovers who remember the band in their first outings, as well as millenials who have danced to their music at the student union, without realising who they were
Morning after effect: Two-stepping at the bus stop
Recommend to friends: Girls night out, date night, anniversary, keep the kids away, due to strong language
See again: Try and keep me away
Best bit: Nick Massi's colossal rant after ten years of sharing hotel rooms with Tommy DeVito. Could you REALLY blame him though?
With the departure of Ryan Molloy (the show's original Frankie) to Stratford East's "Fings Ain't What They Used To Be", a new venue and a movie based on the show coming out this year, 2014 will prove to be a turning point for this West End favourite.
Frankie is shared between Michael Watson and West End regular Sandy Moffat, who I'd previously seen steal the show in Rock of Ages as camp Franz. Despite having colossal shoes to fill left behind by originator Molloy, Moffat fits seamlessly into the coveted role, bringing a maturity to the singing, and his interpersonal relationships. Jon Boydon, one of the longest-serving cast members, dominates as wheeling-dealing band member Tommy Devito, who is sharply brought down a peg or six, when his gambling debts are exposed.
All the accents are spot-on "Noo Joisey", causing my American neighbour to exclaim surprise that all of the cast were in fact British-born. The show has become swearier since its first incarnation, with a considerable more number of F-bombs being dropped throughout the evening. Parents may feel the need to clap their hands over the ears of younger teens (or in my case, my 60 year-old mother).
The move to the Piccadilly makes for a more intimate experience, where you actually feel part of the performance, as opposed to the vast space of the Prince Edward, without compromising on sound quality.
The stage sets are manoeuvered flawlessly on and off-stage by the cast, giving proceedings a brisk pace through the first act; the second concentrates more on the emotional upheaval, which comes to a head in a fiery bust-up between bandmates, and a heartbreaking moment for Moffat's Frankie, which had me wanting to jump up on stage to give him a hug.
If you've seen it before, I recommend seeing it again to see how the new cast and theatre, and newcomers will delight in the sheer toe-tapping fabulousity of the numbers. Everything from Sherry Baby, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like A Man and of course Oh What A Night - the staple of many student club nights - it has something to enjoy for everybody.
View our show pages for more information about Jersey Boys, Trafalgar Theatre.
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