This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw Jersey Boys at the invite of The Alexandra.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Dave Massey spoke to Michael Pickering about playing the role of Frankie Valli. Listen here:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains strong language and inferred violence, misogyny and at one point, some VERY, VERY BRIGHT LIGHTS!!
Review: Jersey Boys at The Alexandra
Directed by Des McAnuff, Music by Bob Gaudio, Lyrics by Bob Crewe, book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.
Jersey Boys tells the story of how Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons evolved, covering twenty years of the lives of those in the group. Told over two hours and fifteen minutes (plus interval), this story uses four narrators covering four chapters: Spring – Tommy DeVito played by Dalton Wood, Summer – Bob Gaudio played by Blair Gibson, Autumn – Nick Massi played by Lewis Griffiths and finally Winter which belongs to Frankie Valli played by Luke Suri.
At first this narration swap over is a bit of a jolt as Blair Gibson’s Bob Gaudio has been on stage for a few seconds before his narration starts, but once it happens we start to adjust to this format quickly. The second half is filled with drama and story development as things unravel for our band, it wouldn’t be a story worth telling without such dramatic moments.
Dalton Wood and Blair Gibson deliver much more rough around the edges accents in their working class New Jersey narration, Lewis Griffiths has much more of a Gumshoe narration. (That’s Private Detective to you and me).
Tonight’s press night found itself in an unusual position; Michael Pickering played Frankie Valli in the first half of the show, but due to being indisposed, Frankie Valli was played by Luke Suri during the second half. Again this change took a moment or two to adjust to. Luke was a great Frankie in the second half just as Michael had been in the first and the differences in their portrayals were slight. This is a very smooth and slickly choreographed production after all and the show must go on! I’d have loved to have seen either one play Frankie throughout.
The songs in Jersey Boys are from the lives of the artists we see rather than traditional musical numbers, that are there to propel the story and characters. Here, they are personal performances from actors playing real people and mark particular time in those musicians lives. In turn, the actors are getting to perform for us, the audience.
The industrial set is filled with silver scaffolding, catwalks which cross the higher part of the stage and spiral staircases, acknowledging the working-class roots of this story. A digital backdrop hangs from the rear of the stage, it features comic strip style drawings of characters, situations and helps flesh out locations. There are many moving parts for chairs and tables with tracks for the drummer to move along, desks and microphones to appear. The number of Microphones tell their own story as the band progresses.
Jersey Boys is really all about the music and there is a lot of it. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What A Night and Walk Like A Man are just some of the 25+ musical numbers listed in the programme.
Part biography-part gig, Jersey Boys is a stunning production at The Alexandra until 1st January 2022. Book tickets here: atgtickets.com/shows/jersey-boys/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham
Some media outlets have used eye witness accounts suggesting that The Alexandra doesn’t have any visible Covid-19 protocols in place.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit The Alexandra most weeks since September, every visit has included staff checking on arrival to see if I have either negative Lateral Flow Test result from the preceding 48 hours or a Double Vaccination Pass. The theatre visibly has staff mask wearing, and signs throughout the building encouraging mask wearing and social distancing.