Jersey Boys (UK Tour), New Theatre Oxford | Review

Jersey Boys (UK Tour)
New Theatre Oxford 
Reviewed on Wednesday 19th December 2018 by Donna Meredith

I was very excited to see Jersey Boys at The New Theatre in Oxford, having missed it in the West End. Having been lucky enough to see a short set by the Jersey Boys at our company conference a few years ago I was keen to enjoy the full production. 

This is essentially a rags to riches story of true New Jersey Boys who all had somewhat dubious existences, peppered with criminal activity, gambling and incarceration. Far from being the clean-cut boys next door, these were lads who really did make it, against all the odds. Four friends from New Jersey who united together to create one of the most successful groups of their time. 

The cast are led by Michael Watson (Frankie Valli), Simon Bailey (Tommy DeVito), Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi) and Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio). Each performer is fabulous individually but together they have a chemistry that is simply brilliant. 

The sound of the Four Seasons is of course unique but is emulated superbly by these exceptional vocalists, who manage effortlessly to recreate the sound which made The Four Seasons’ sound so distinctive. 

The show is jam-packed with the group’s hits – Beggin’, Oh What A Night, Earth Angel, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Sherry and Bye Bye Baby, to name just a few. My personal highlight was the performance of My Eyes Adored You by Valli and Mary Delgado (played exceptionally by Tara Young); in a show that is full of humour and upbeat songs, it makes for a beautiful, touching interlude. 

Of course, Frankie Valli knew personal tragedy as well as fame and fortune and Michael Watson’s wonderful rendition of Fallen Angel, a song remembering his deceased daughter, was heart-wrenching but beautifully delivered. 

This show both surprised and delighted me with the rollercoaster of real life emotions, experienced through a story of not only musical history, but also warmed the soul with the message of the enduring loyalty of friendship. 

I must also mention that for a touring show, the cast, creative team and orchestra all come together to produce something quite spectacular – bravo ! 

Jersey Boys is a perfect night’s entertainment performed by a superbly talented cast which will leave you wanting more and I am sure, see you leaving the theatre, as I did thinking …“Oh What a Night”. I am sure I will be humming those tunes for days to come!

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