Jersey Boys Review - Trafalgar Theatre

Jersey Boys Review – Trafalgar Theatre London

The beloved Tony, Grammy and Olivier award-winning smash hit musical Jersey Boys has made its highly anticipated return to London. The newly restored Trafalgar Theatre has brought the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons back to the West End. Whilst I’m familiar with several of their hit songs I can’t say I was aware of their real-life stories. A real-life tale you may consider implausible if it wasn’t actually their truth. Their journey from four guys harmonising under a streetlight to international sensations will have you hooked from the start.

They were just four guys from New Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect onstage, off stage it was a very different story—a story that has made them an international sensation all over again. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s too good to be true.

The rags to riches story of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio is full of twists and turn. On the road to stardom their path was marred with addiction, imprisonments, falling outs and mob connections. The show is broken into seasonal narrations by each of The Four Seasons, so you get each member’s perspective of their past. They don’t try and downplay the tough times and give you the real behind the scenes information. You also find some interesting little tidbits like how actor Joe Pesci introduced the band to Bob Gaudio.

Jersey Boys is packed with their well-known hits including Beggin’, 1963 (Oh What a Night) and Big Girls Don’t Cry. I was so impressed with the amazing vocal range of the cast taking on these classic songs. Ben Joyce in the role of Frankie Valli was captivating as he replicated his trademark falsetto. I was particularly taken with Karl James Wilson in the role of Nick Massi taking on his baritone vocals. The relaxed blunt personality seemed to come easy to him on stage and he seemed so in tune with the role.

Despite being on a small stage with a mainly static set the scene changes flowed with the story. The lighting and props were impact-fully used in changing scenes and locations throughout. I did struggle with the sheer number of changes at times as it made some scenes feel rushed. The second act was a lot more seamless following a cramped first act to fully tell their story. And I would have loved more of the songs to be full length as they tried to fit a lot into two and a half hours.

My complaints were very minor in the grand scheme of things, and I really enjoyed the show. I think the show would appeal to all ages, regardless of whether you are an avid fan of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The story is captivating and takes you through a range of emotions with their tales of friendship, heartbreak, and music. If you are interested in returning to the theatre, then I would recommend seeing Jersey Boys in London. You can see exactly why this show was on Broadway for an impressive 11 years.

Photo Credit: Mark Senior