October 4, 2018
The 2018 staging of Jersey Boys at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre opened its proceedings with a bit of a surprise: A hip hop version “Ces Soirées-La”, i.e. the French equivalent to “Oh, what a night” set the tone for the performance, which was bit of a surprise.
Luckily, the storyline that ensued followed the traditional narrative of the entity that became known as the Four Seasons, detailing the trial and tribulations of the troubadours Frankie Valli, Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio and the streetwise promoter Tommy DeVito and gang.
The first quarter of the show had a bit of a slow build-up, framed by lesser known numbers but it was not long until the ensemble found its stride and the affair picked up pace, delivering all the timeless classics in an impeccable manner.
What makes this Australian take on the quartet is that the ensemble infused the characters with its own flavours and the value of the production rests firmly on the talent and showmanship of the well-cast individual performers with their standout vocal deliveries and on-point choreography backed by a superb orchestration, which accentuates and amplifies the individual characters’ distinct personalities.
A feat which is further elaborated on by subdividing the show in four components, i.e. ‘seasons”, each narrated by one of the constituents, which with their at times contradictive points of view complete the mosaic leaving out unnecessary ballast.
The fact that individual segments of the show prompted spontaneous applause and eruptions from the audience reflects the infectious nature the creative team under the guidance of Director Des McAnuff and Musical Supervisor Ron Melrose have accomplished to create.
It proves difficult to not leave the Capitol Theatre in good spirits after being serenaded for more than two hours with catchy harmonies by a cast of eighteen performers.
The imaginative stage settings and their rapid, seamless changes of the troupe’s classic rags-to-riches real life rise to success story complement the story – a story of a conglomerate of artists that were firmly embraced by the American mainstream working class culture and the epitome of what can be described as a jukebox musical.
This show is everything one could hope for – no matter if you are an uninitiated first timer or have seen previous incarnations.