JERSEY BOYS BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE
Hold up. This is supposed to be a musical, right? As in, a dramatic, Broadway-styled retelling of the Four Seasons story, with various performers and actors playing the parts of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito and the lads, yes? Only, from where we're sitting, Jersey Boys might as well be the real deal - the real Four Seasons.
Good grief, we ain't ever heard a group of voices this slick; a script this well sequenced, nor a soundtrack so wonderfully infectious before. At least, not at the theatre.
A true story of gangsters and showcases, recording studios and love affairs, fame and misfortune, Jersey Boys pulls us in with its snappy, magnetic charm. This is the rise and fall of a 1960s rock 'n' roll group that should have hired a decent manager.
It's a jukebox musical where the songs featured were written and recorded by the band whose bumpy career is unfolding before our eyes.
Jersey Boys talks tough. In Bob Gaudio's giddy, pop-coated soundtrack (Sherry, Walk like a Man, Oh What a Night, Beggin' and more) it just about blows the roof off.
In fact, there are times when this excitable production forgets the fuss of having to merge a complex, cinematic narrative and setting with various chart-hit cuts and choruses and finally allows itself to become a full-on, Four Seasons tribute concert, with a cracking Tim Driesen (Valli) and his exceptional co-stars at its centre. And, it's the best darn tribute concert I've ever seen.
There's a splendid sense of humour- and a hell of a dark streak, too. Who knew that a song-and-dance drama could play things so real, without ever losing its spark? Exuberantly performed, and reasonably well paced, Jersey Boys has set the benchmark for jukebox musicals.
Running until April 18