Sunday, 13 January 2013

Jersey Boys, Princess Theatre Jan 12, 2013 *****

Jersey Boys - The Story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
Book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Music by Bob Gaudio & Lyrics by Bob Crewe (and others)
Princess Theatre, Melbourne, from Jan 12 to March 24, 2013
Reviewer: Kate  Herbert on Saturday Jan 12, 2013 
Declan Egan (Bob), Jeff Madden (Frankie), Anthony Harkin (Tommy), Glaston Toft (Nick): Photo by Joe Calleri

JERSEY BOYS CLOSED TOO SOON after its 2009 season, leaving audiences clamouring for more and, if the toe tapping, cheering and singing along at the opening night is any indication, audiences will not be disappointed.

This jukebox musical traces the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, four Italo-American, New Jersey boys who created a distinctive sound featuring Frankie’s enormous three and a half octave range, countless hit tunes and unique four part harmonies.

There is plenty to make this show first class entertainment and its recipe for success starts with the quality of Bob Gaudio’s music and Bob Crewe’s lyrics.

The heart-stopping highlight is the thrilling combination of four male voices with complex harmonies, singing tunes including: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What A Night, Let’s Hang On, Working My Way Back to You, and a spine-tingling, foot-stomping finale of Who Loves You that brings the crowd to its feet.

Declan Egan (Bob), Jeff Madden (Frankie), Anthony Harkin (Tommy), Glaston Toft (Nick): Photo by Joe Calleri

Brickman and Elice’s cunningly structured script with its witty dialogue tells the American Dream story about four boys from the wrong side of the tracks making good.

A biographical story does not have a natural, dramatic structure, but their script cleverly divides the show into four sections, reflecting the four seasons, four members, and four-part harmonies.

Spring is Tommy DeVito’s season and Anthony Harkin plays, with a defiant swagger, a curled lip and cruel wit, the tough, ambitious, working class boy who is addicted to petty crime and gambling.

Without Tommy’s relentless drive to succeed and his encouragement of four boys singing under a street lamp, The Four Seasons –Tommy, Frankie (Jeff Madden), Bob (Declan Egan) and Nick (Glaston Toft) – would not exist.

Summer is Bobby’s time and blonde, boyish Egan, with his bright clear vocal tone, embodies Gaudio’s youthful exuberance, intelligence, musical talent and charm.

Gaudio’s incomparable tunes launched the band’s career and, with lyrics and production by Bob Crewe – played with entertaining campery by Michael Griffiths – they were destined for number one.

Nick Massi, Tommy’s childhood pal and fellow petty crim, is the voice of Fall. Toft recreates Nick’s resonant, bass tones, sense of style and silent quirkiness, and we learn of Nick’s extraordinary ear for harmonies and arrangements.
Declan Egan (Bob), Jeff Madden (Frankie), Anthony Harkin (Tommy), Glaston Toft (Nick): Photo by Joe Calleri

Winter, the last phase of the story, is Frankie’s season, and the diminutive Jeff Madden’s vocal tone echoes Frankie’s sweet, idiosyncratic voice and characteristic falsetto.
Madden’s compelling renditions of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Bye Bye Baby and Fallen Angel are moving tributes to the real Frankie’s passion, unswerving loyalty and commitment to the band.

The remaining delicious ingredients include Des McAnuff’s sleek and cunning direction, crisp and edgy choreography (Sergio Trujillo), a versatile, industrial design (Klara Zieglerova), exceptional band led by Michael Azzopardi.

The talented ensemble, includes Lisa Adams as Mary Delgado, Enrico Mammarella as Gyp DeCarlo and the sassy, Go-Go girl trio, The Angels and the extraordinary voice of Vince Harder.
Get a ticket. It’s worth the price just to hear the final, thrilling, hair-raising note of the finale.

By Kate Herbert 

Jeff Madden as Frankie Valli
Graham Foote as Frankie Valli (matinees)
Anthony Harkin as Tommy DeVito
Declan Egan as Bob Gaudio
Glaston Toft as Nick Massi
Michael Griffiths as Bob Crewe
Lisa Adam as Mary Delgado, angel, others
Joe Kosky
Michelle Smitheram
Enrico Mammarella
Cameron McDonald
Vince Harder
Matt Hunt
Brent Trotter
Kat Hoyos
Glenn Moorhouse
Brett Canning

Creative Team
Book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Music by Bob Gaudio (and others)
Lyrics by Bob Crewe (and others)
Director -Des McAnuff
Choreographer - Sergio Trujillo
Designer - Klara Zieglerova
Musical Director- Michael Azzopardi
Projection Designer – Michael Clark
Costume designer – Jess Goldstein
Lighting Design – Howell Binkley
Sound Design – Steve Canyon Kennedy

Declan Egan (Bob), Jeff Madden (Frankie), Anthony Harkin (Tommy), Glaston Toft (Nick): Photo by Joe Calleri

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