Oh, What a Night! JERSEY BOYS, UK Tour

There is a tiny, tiny list of shows that are currently playing in London's West End that I haven't gotten around to seeing and two of those shows I am tackling in the next week. The first of which is JERSEY BOYS: a musical that took Broadway by storm over a decade ago and has played in London for almost a decade as well. The show tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and how they came to fame and inevitably died out as well.

I won't lie to you: I put this show off for such a long time because, as much as I loved the music, I really could not be bothered to force a friend to go along with me because I was pretty sure I'd be bored out of my mind. There's something about jukebox musicals that makes me wanna scratch my eyeballs out at the thought of them and Jersey Boys fell under this category. But I eat my words when I say that I stopped being so stubborn after falling in love with Beautiful back in March and I decided I'd give the show a shot for principal's sake when it stopped at my local regional theatre on tour last week, with my mother and her mother in tow.

The UK tour of Jersey Boys is actually a replica of the production that plays in London's West End so let's note that I did see a full-scale production of the show no matter which theatre it was in. The show initially struck me because of its really fast pace and its lack of sentimentality surrounding some of the show's big "showstoppers"; I realised about half an hour into the first act that we had come a heck of a long way story wise and that we weren't stopping the show just to see the big numbers like "Sherry" and "Big Girls Don't Cry". It was so refreshing to see a show that really didn't stop and wait for you to get hooked on the characters and the songs - you're thrown into the story head first and because you're made to feel like you know these characters like your friends from the off, the show starts and you already feel invested in them as people. It's so weird, but a really good weird. The show ended and I felt like I'd been taken on a journey through the lives of four of my friends and it left me feeling good.

The story itself is actually quite a harrowing one as well and I was surprised that the story was as deep and dark as it was in comparison to what I thought the story would be like in my head. The show tackled themes like crime and broken families with a perfect mix of comedy and tragedy and it was nice to see such a well put together book in a jukebox musical; the book is why I love Beautiful - The Carole King Musical so much, so maybe putting together a story of an artist's life with perfection and a story behind it is really what sells a jukebox musical to me. In my eyes, they might well be full of songs back to back (and not in the good way like a Boublil and Schoenberg musical), but they have heart to them as well.

The overall presentation of this production really worked for me, too. It was interesting that the show opens with one of the band's biggest hits being performed in R'n'B French at the turn of the new millennium and that the entire show was done on what I can only describe as elaborate scaffolding, but it worked and I really liked it just the way it was. It was good to see a show that didn't need set to get its message across and refreshing to see such minimal set be used to its advantage. The cast were fantastic as well: Matt Corner's voice is truly gorgeous and made me absolutely melt in my seat (a voice so good that my mum is still questioning me as to how he actually managed to sing the songs so well live). The rest of the cast were superb as well with my true standout being Lewis Griffthis as Nick Massi. There was something about his character and his portrayl of the character that really stood out to me and made him so much fun to watch throughout.

If you haven't caught Jersey Boys yet then definitely try your best to get down to the show in whatever way you can, be it on tour or in the West End. Even though I once thought I was going to loathe every moment of it, I'm now a changed man: oh, what a night!

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