The original Australian production of Jersey Boys opened in Melbourne in July 2009, and after 13 months the show moved to Sydney where it played for a further 15 months, making it one of the longest running musicals in both cities. Playing to more than one million people throughout Australia it won a series of awards earning much admiration from fans and theatre goers alike.
Jersey Boys set the bar for biopic musicals, mainly due to its timeless songs and compelling story. Featuring a back catalogue of hits by Bob Gaudio (music) and Bob Crewe (lyrics) including Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Walk Like a Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Sherry – sold more than 175 million records worldwide and an induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Following recent seasons in Sydney and Brisbane, Jersey Boys has made a welcome return to Melbourne and the much larger Regent Theatre in its third outing in as many years in a scaled back production. Drawing its inspiration from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s well-structured book is told in four parts with each of the main characters acting as the narrator, offering a unique perspective from their rise to stardom, their fall from grace and their ultimate redemption.
Jersey Boys features an outstanding cast led Ryan Gonzalez as Frankie Valli, Cameron MacDonald as Tommy DeVito, Thomas McGuane as Bob Gaudio and Glaston Toft as Nick Massi. Each bring their A-game to their respective roles, however, it is Gonzalez as Valli, and his unique vocal quality, that is always at the centre of this story. They are well supported by a stellar ensemble playing multiple roles and executing Sergio Trujillo’s choreography with ease.
Des MAnuff’s direction takes you on a whirlwind journey through five decades, making great use of Klara Zieglerova’s industrial inspired set design featuring metal staircases and cyclone fencing, that allows the narrative and cast to swiftly transition into new scenes and locations.
Special mention to Michael Clark’s projection design, which seamlessly inserts live camera feeds to recreate the band’s live television performances that complement the projected comic strip inspired projections, adds another dimension to the narrative. While sound balance was shaky early on and the opening number slightly unintelligible, musically, you can’t fault this production with Luke Hunter’s five-piece band providing the perfect accompaniment to each number.
Regent Theatre, Collins Street, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 2 March 2019
Season continues to 14 April 2019
Information and Bookings: www.jerseyboys.com.au
Image: Thomas McGuane, Ryan Gonzalez, Cameron MacDonald and Glaston Toft star in Jersey Boys – photo by Jeff Busby
Review: Rohan Shearn