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Jersey Boys - Nottingham Review

The jukebox musical and  "global phenomenon" Jersey Boys explodes to life in Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall as part of its UK and Ireland tour. 

LtoR - Michael Pickering, Blair Gibson, Dalton Wood, Lewis Griffiths in Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour.  Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

The show tells the rollercoaster journey of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito) through their early New Jersey days where crime and trouble were precursors to the eventual stardom the group would go on to, all whilst in the background battling crippling debt brought on by DeVito.  

It's quite a revelatory story if you know very little about the band. It's an honest take on their lives something with both Valli and Gaudio discuss in an interview in the programme. There is no shying away from the troubles or the division the debt caused and that makes for an interesting watch, nothing is sugar-coated here. 

The music back catalogue is rich especially when you read a list of the songs that didn't make it into the show including 'Grease' and 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore'. The quality of songs ranging really ramps up when you get to 'Sherry' and once the musical shackles are off the numbers prove their own strength when performed by a great cast and live band under the musical direction of Griff Johnson

The real letdown for the production comes in the sound, I'm not sure if this was more a venue thing or the show. The Royal Concert Hall is a huge room and the voices, especially in the talking, could be completely lost in the space. I was worried it was just me but I overheard people in the interval discussing the fact they also couldn't understand what certain characters were saying. It becomes more of a challenge when the cast often talks over music and the action moves a quite a pace.

LtoR Blair Gibson, Michael Pickering, Dalton Wood, Lewis Griffiths in Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Photo by Birgit + Ralf Brinklehoff

That said the cast are fantastic with tremendous vocals. Michael Pickering's outstanding voice shines as he hits those high falsetto notes that makes Frankie Valli's voice so unique. The stature that Pickering brings to the role as he battles his own struggles exposes real heart and there's a particularly touching rendition of 'Fallen Angel' right towards the end of act two. 

Dalton Wood impresses as he carries Tommy DeVito's constant struggles, Blair Gibson brings a bright smile to talented composer Bob Gaudio and is arguably the most likeable of the band, and booming deep voiced Lewis Griffiths commands the stage with a brilliantly dry sense of humour as Nick Massi though is the least audible in the sound.

There's great supporting performances throughout the cast including Emma Crossley as Mary Delgado (and others), Jordan James as Gyp DeCarlo (and others) and a particularly strong Michael Levi as Bob Crewe (and others).

The band bring the music to life with real talent and skill. The on-stage drumming of Tom Hutchinson is superb as he glides around the stage on a moving platform. The music is the clear strength of the show.

Undoubtedly it's a crowd-pleasing show and it delivers that well as the rapturous crowd lap up a reprise of 'December 1963 (Oh What A Night)' at the curtain call. It's slick with impressive staging that shows why the show ran for years on Broadway and in the West End but due to the sound, I came away feeling a little disappointed. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ and a half.

Jersey Boys continues at Royal Concert Hall until Saturday 24th September. Tickets are available from

The Cast of Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Photo by Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

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